News / Africa

    Niger Hit with 'Double Crisis' -- First Drought, Then Flooding.

    Heavy rains and flooding are compounding Niger’s food crisis, originally caused by a long-running drought. The international aid agency OXFAM says the flooding has killed at least six people, left thousands homeless, ruined crops and forced hungry families to the point of crisis.

    Heavy rains and flooding are compounding Niger’s food crisis, originally caused by a long-running drought.  The international aid agency OXFAM says the flooding has killed at least six people, left thousands homeless, ruined crops and forced hungry families to the point of crisis.

    OXFAM says the UN estimates that between the drought and the floods, almost eight million people are facing severe hunger.

    It’s a double disaster, says OXFAM’s spokesperson in Niamey, Caroline Gluck.

    Over 100,000 children have been treated for severe malnutrition, especially the most vulnerable -- children under age five, Gluck says.

    No harvest ahead

    “They (people) were praying for rain so they could have a good harvest, something to eat [in the weeks ahead].  Now many are without that harvest and have no hope for the future and no food available to them,” says Gluck.

    There are still two months to go before the next harvest, yet the rains have wiped out people’s crops and vegetable gardens.  People are eating leaves and berries mixed with some millet or flour to “keep their bellies full, but that’s not at all nutritious and it’s the young children that are the most vulnerable,” says Gluck

    The biggest challenge, she says, is to get help to people who need it most.  But she says inadequate funding – down about 88 million dollars -- is preventing not only OXFAM, but also the whole UN system, including the World Food Program, from getting supplies to those who need it most.

    The OXFAM spokesperson says part of the problem is that Niger is “slightly off the world radar” -- the problem there is not as visible as the massive flooding in Pakistan or the earthquake in Haiti.

    Niger is “a slow onset crisis,” she says.  Because it’s incremental, it isn’t as visible to the world as the other crises.

    Add to that the fact that Niger is so poor, she says, a country where people have problems feeding themselves year in and year out, “a country which is desperately poor, where many adults cannot read or write, where the basic services, health and education don’t really work.  People who are the least able to help themselves are now being hit by a double disaster.”

    An ounce of prevention

    A more effective way to deal with the problems, says Gluck, is for donors to concentrate on longer-term, self-help development, such as working on agriculture, emphasizing irrigation and the construction of grain storage banks to protect against future climatic crises.

    Donors could also provide skills training and support education, she says, adding that people don’t want to be locked into an endless cycle of asking for international aid, but want instead to have the tools and training they need to help themselves.

    This approach is “less exciting, less sexy development work,” says Gluck. But she adds that prevention is cheaper and more effective than an emergency response when a full-blown crisis hits.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora