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:
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

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs