News / Africa

WFP Doubles Aid to Niger to Fend Off Eastern Sahel Drought

Multimedia

Audio
  • World Food Program U.S.A. Spokesperson Jennifer Parmelee

A severe food emergency in Niger has prompted the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) to more than double its assistance to victims of this year’s drought in the eastern Sahel.  As the West African country enters its lean season, WFP senior spokesperson in the United States, Jennifer Parmelee, says that $182 million is needed to relieve the food insecurity of more than half of the country’s population of 13.5 million.

In February following a bitter constitutional crisis, a military junta removed longtime President Mamadou Tandja, who had tried to extend his term beyond ten years, from office.   Parmelee says that with a new government in place in Niamey, providers are better prepared than they were five years ago, when an earlier drought destroyed harvests and dried up grazing lands, and the government did not acknowledge the crisis quickly enough.

“The last time around, it took the government quite a while to recognize the crisis, and that did feed in to the late response by the international community.  But you have to look at Niger.  In general, there are a multitude of structural issues.  By almost any measure, it is the world’s poorest country.  Years and years of deprivation have left them extremely vulnerable to any crisis that could come along.  The last time, it was a plague of locusts, and this time it’s drought.  Any crisis at all can tip over millions of people,” she cautioned.

World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran: "Niger has been hit extremely hard by the drought and the world has to act to prevent massive human suffering and the loss of a generation."
World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran: "Niger has been hit extremely hard by the drought and the world has to act to prevent massive human suffering and the loss of a generation."

The U.N., through its World Food Program and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is organizing development and humanitarian agencies to reinforce grain stocks and staff feeding centers to give particular attention to pregnant and nursing mothers, young children, and fragile patients already weakened by tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS.  Spokesperson Parmelee says that community grain distributors are already in place and gearing up to provide greater supplies and subsidies during the peak of the crisis.

“There are these community cereal stores.  They are aimed at women, who are traditionally looked at as the providers of food for the family, and they can indeed buy grain at subsidized prices.  And we anticipate that getting to its peak at the peak of the lean season.  Roughly, it runs from May to September, so that by mid-summer, we hope that these will be up and operating in full stream,” she noted.

WFP Doubles Aid to Niger to Fend Off Eastern Sahel Drought
WFP Doubles Aid to Niger to Fend Off Eastern Sahel Drought

Many school children are expected to receive meals during the crisis, and other vulnerable food recipients of imported food stocks include children under five in the worst-affected areas, who will receive supplementary feeding and infants under two, who will take part in a blanket feeding program, which Parmelee says is essential.

“This is designed to keep children in that very critical window of what we say zero to two years of age, which is for malnutrition a very critical stage of life.  If you miss out on the main ingredients of nutrition in those years, you suffer the consequences in terms of both your physical stature and your mental development for the rest of your life.  So it’s vital that we target this population of children,” she explained.

Parmelee says that because Niger is landlocked, local supplies are being obtained from neighboring Nigeria, an active trading partner with Niger.  Added deliveries from another major provider, the United States, are expected to take as long as four months to arrive, but are said already to be in the pipeline.

Landlocked Niger is surrounded by six countries, making it challenging for aid agencies to coordinate food relief deliveries to the drought-stricken country.
Landlocked Niger is surrounded by six countries, making it challenging for aid agencies to coordinate food relief deliveries to the drought-stricken country.

Signs of drought over the eastern Sahel have lingered for about a year, destroying harvests and drying up grazing lands in a region that has long been subject to recurrent aridity.  Niger’s last major food crisis in 2005 came on even more quickly and resulted in a higher loss of life than international aid agencies had anticipated.  Despite a current shortfall of $98 million, coordinators say significant supplies are starting to roll in, and by doubling the target numbers of people they anticipate reaching, they hope to fend off the casualties of 2005 this time around.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid