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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
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 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 Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
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 Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
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.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid