News

Niger Crowds Welcome UN Secretary-General

Gabi Menezes

Crowds welcomed the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his wife Nane as they began a two-day visit to Niger. The visit is aimed at expressing solidarity with Niger, as the country deals with the aftermath of severe food shortages.

The President of Niger, Mamadou Tandja and hundreds of people welcomed the U.N. secretary-general to the town of Zinder in southern Niger, an area especially stricken with hunger.

On Mr. Annan's schedule is a visit to a hospital in Zinder where malnourished children are still being cared for.

A local journalist at the airport, Ousmane Toudou, says the secretary-general got a sober reception.

Mr. Toudou says that he heard a few young people in the crowd who cried repeatedly in the local language, "We are hungry.'' He says that this was most likely directed at the president rather than the secretary-general, because Mr. Tandja denied in an interview two weeks ago that his country was experiencing severe malnutrition.

Mr. Tandja said in the interview that the reports of famine were being circulated by opposition politicians and U.N. agencies for their own interests. The United Nations estimated that three million of Niger's 12 million people were facing food shortages.

Mr. Toudou says now most people in Niger have access to adequate food and that the situation has improved.

Mr. Toudou says that food is still scarce in certain zones, where not enough food aid has arrived.

The humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres criticized the United Nations, saying in a statement released Monday, that food aid was not reaching the people who needed it the most.

The statement also accused the U.N. of responding too late to the severe malnutrition in Niger, and of supporting the government in selling food aid, albeit at subsidized prices. The organization says that this prevented the poorest from gaining access to food.

Drought, plagues of locusts and high regional food prices have all contributed to severe food shortages in the country. Although the government realized that there would be a shortage of around 220 tons of grain, the international community was slow to respond to its appeal for aid.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs