News / Africa

Hunger Rates for Niger's Children Reach 'Alarming' Levels

Multimedia

Audio

Relief workers in Niger say malnutrition rates for children under age five have reached emergency levels.  A deepening food crisis in the eastern Sahel threatens nearly half of Niger's 14 million people.

Worsening food shortages caused by irregular rainfall and poor harvests in 2009 threaten seven million people in Niger.  Aid workers say the country's children are in particular danger.  Niger is one of the poorest nations in the world and hunger rates already were high among the country's children.

A new government assessment says 17 percent of children under age five suffer from acute malnutrition, up from 12 percent in 2009.  Anything above 15 percent is considered past the emergency threshold.  In some of the most affected regions, child hunger rates have risen to between 19 and 22 percent.  The government survey also found that 3.2 percent of the country's children are severely malnourished and at risk of dying.

Since March, Niger's government has issued urgent calls for national and international aid.  Last month, the government invited the French section of Doctors without Borders to return to Niger, after being kicked out in 2008 by former president Mamadou Tandja.

The French section's president, Marie Pierre Allié, said this authorization to return means the government recognizes the problem of malnutrition and wants to deal with it.  She says the first step to effectively tackling the problem is to recognize that there are hungry children in this country, a fact that just a few years ago was difficult to acknowledge.

Relief workers have said delays in responding to a 2005 food crisis in Niger needlessly cost lives.  Former president Tandja refused to address risks of food crisis during his more than 10 years in office.  Mr. Tandja was ousted by a military coup in February of this year.

Allié says the French section of Doctors Without Borders will partner with a Nigerien organization, Forsani, to work in the Maradi region of south central Niger, specifically in the department of Madarounfa.

Allié said this year there are already a high number of cases of severe malnutrition, signaling a need to treat affected children.  She said her organization also will be distributing nutrient-rich food to children who are not yet sick, to keep them from getting malnourished.  Beginning next year, she said her group will work with health authorities to roll out a systematic prevention program that would provide regular food supplements to at-risk children, from six months to 12 years of age.

Malnutrition can have lasting effects on a child's mental and physical development.

Relief organizations, like the International Federation of the Red Cross, report the food crisis is worse than anticipated.  The Red Cross has called for additional funding to reach and treat at-risk children in Niger.

The United Nations World Food Program has announced it will double the amount of people receiving food aid in Niger to 4.5 million and increase supplementary feeding for children under age two and their families.  The WFP has called for an additional $100-million to ramp up its program.

The food crisis threatens as many 10 million people, across the Sahel region.  Although Niger has been the hardest hit, populations in Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Cameroon also are at risk.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid