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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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