News / Africa

UN Calls for Urgent Action in Niger Food Crisis

TEXT SIZE - +

The top U.N. aid official is calling for urgent action to deal with a growing food crisis in Niger that threatens more than half of the country's 14 million people.

U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes was in Niger this week to call attention to the deepening food crisis brought on by drought and poor harvests last year in the Eastern Sahel region.

Holmes said the situation is worse than the last Niger food crisis in 2005, but said the West African nation is better prepared to face it, in part due to better government cooperation.

Aid workers say severe food shortages could affect as many as eight million people in Niger in coming months.

Holmes visited Zinder province in southern Niger, one of the country's hardest hit areas, where families are beginning to abandon villages and head to the capital in search of food.

Holmes say the food situation in Niger is serious and many are hungry. He says many animals are hungry, growing weak and beginning to die. Malnutrition is on the rise and water is more scarce. He says schools are being abandoned and, in some areas, as many as 20 percent of students are missing. Many villages and many farmers, he says, will not have seeds for the next planting. And sadly, he says, the situation could only get worse, as it is still six months before the next harvest.

Holmes said the time to act is now and reiterated a call by the United Nations for an additional $130 million in emergency funding for 2010 to manage the crisis and head off catastrophe.

The food shortage is a result of irregular rainfall in 2009 that led to poor harvests and severe lacks of water and grazing land for animals.

Aid workers say poverty and lack of irrigation make Niger's farmers vulnerable to even slight climate changes, and malnutrition is a constant challenge.

Holmes says we must act quickly in the face of this food crisis, but we must also not forget that food shortages are a recurring problem in Niger. He says we must attack the larger structural problems that exist and invest more in agriculture, irrigation and rural infrastructure.

The U.N. World Food Program has doubled the number of people it plans to feed in Niger and now expects to feed more than 1.5 million people in next month's general food distribution.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid