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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid