News / Africa

Aid Agencies Launch Hunger Appeal for Niger

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Natasha Saini

Niger is grappling with an acute food crisis and nearly a million children in the country are malnourished of which at least 200,000 are on the brink of starvation.

Click to Listen:

Download/Play Audio File


Aid agencies say Niger is facing a hunger and malnutrition crisis and UK-based groups such as Oxfam and Action Against Hunger are calling on the international community to step up efforts to raise the over $100 million in assistance funding needed by Niger.

Etienne Du Vachat from Oxfam spoke to VOA from Niger; he says inadequate or delayed funding could have dire consequences.

"The international donors, they should really commit and quickly disburse, this quick disbursement will be key in the capacity of the world humanitarian community to respond to the needs which are huge and our partners on the field are very very concerned," said Du Vachat.

Vachat says aid groups in Niger have been issuing warnings for months.  

Guido Borghese is an aid worker in Niger with the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF. He says the situation is particularly grave for the children.

"From now to the end of 2010 at least 200,000 cases of acute severe children malnutrition," said Borghese. "It means that the children are sick because of lack of food or also because of other diseases. And these children need to be treated and if they are not treated correctly, then their life will be in danger."

Africa's Sahel
Africa's Sahel

Niger is one of Africa's poorest nations, ranking at the bottom of the United Nation's Human Development Index. And situated in the Sahel region, Niger is constantly under threat from drought conditions.

Borghese says severe drought conditions over the past years have only exacerbated the situation.

"Droughts during the previous rainy season .. resulted in the problems in [not having sufficient] grass for animals," Borghese adds. "That is one of the main resources for the people in rural areas and for this reason people are suffering for lack of food. This is also linked to the poverty of the people in this area."

Aid workers agree drought and poverty have proved a vicious circle.

Etienne Du Vachat from Oxfam says that there is almost a two-thirds deficit in the amount of food needed for livestock. As a result, he says, many farmers are being forced to leave their homes and move to towns in search of work and money to survive.

"In some villages, up to 30 percent of the population was forced to leave their villages, their home, not only men, but also the entire families, to go to either neighbor countries like Nigeria or the urban center in Niger to search for jobs, a daily work," Vachat said.

The British government's aid and development agency, DFID, has earmarked almost $30 million to mitigate the hunger crisis in Niger and neighboring Chad. Aid groups have also launched emergency responses. They say they are advising farmers on how to cope with dwindling food for their livestock, running cash for work programs, helping build cereal banks and distributing seeds and food to the poorest.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid