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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
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 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 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.

AppleAndroid