News / Africa

International Aid Group Calls for Urgent Action in Niger Food Crisis

Women wait to receive baby food in the village of Koleram, southern Niger, during the launch of a UN-backed blanket feeding operation aimed at fighting malnutrition among children under the age of two, 28 Apr 2010
Women wait to receive baby food in the village of Koleram, southern Niger, during the launch of a UN-backed blanket feeding operation aimed at fighting malnutrition among children under the age of two, 28 Apr 2010

The U.N. World Food Program has extended food aid to eight million people in Niger, but aid workers say the program still needs funding and assistance may come too late for some families hit by severe food shortages.

International aid workers say a deepening food crisis is threatening 10 million people across the eastern Sahel, including seven million people in Niger.

The U.N. World Food Program announced last week that it is ramping up food aid to reach eight million people in Niger in the next six months at a cost of more than $200 million.

International aid agency, Oxfam, supports the scale-up and has called for "urgent action" from the international community.

Oxfam's Niger representative, Etienne Du Vachat, says the World Food Program's increase is certainly welcomed, but it is late in coming and still needs to be financed.  In Niger, he says the WFP still needs $145 million in funding.

Oxfam has been working with at-risk populations in Niger since February.

Du Vachat says the country is now entering what is traditionally its lean season, the most difficult time of any year just before the harvest.

Du Vachat says this year the lean season began particularly early in February or March for many families, and the harvest is still one or two months away.  He says the price of grain is at its peak, and many families do not have any remaining reserves or enough money to buy grain at the high market prices.  He says grass has not grown back in many areas, so animals continue to die.

Du Vachat says the World Food Program scale-up in Niger is ambitious but "pockets of vulnerability" remain.

Du Vachat says families with children between six months and two years of age are prioritized in the WFP food distribution.  Those families receive special food for children and additional food for the entire family to ensure that the children's rations are not eaten by other members of the family.  Du Vachat says families without children under two years of age remain vulnerable.

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, and hunger rates were already high there, particularly among the country's children.

During harvest time, Du Vachat said parents are too busy in the fields to bring their children to nutrition centers.  With the current food crisis, he said Oxfam worries that health centers could be overwhelmed with malnourished children at the end of August when harvesting is done.

The current food crisis is a result of irregular rainfall and poor harvests in 2009.

Du Vachat says the first signs of alarm showed up in November 2009 and the crisis began to hit its peak in March for many households.  He says the international community has been slow in responding and now the harvests are almost here.  All aid that arrives after the harvest will still be needed, but he says it may be too late for some families.

Though Niger has been the hardest hit by food shortages, populations in Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Cameroon are also at risk.

Du Vachat said emergency humanitarian aid is imperative, but as the region emerges from this crisis, the international community must focus on finding long-term solutions to recurring food shortages in the Sahel.  

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid