News / Africa

WFP Doubling Food Assistance for Niger

Mother feeding her severely malnourished daughter at centre run by CONCERN and supported by WFP
Mother feeding her severely malnourished daughter at centre run by CONCERN and supported by WFP

Multimedia

Audio

The United Nations World Food Program is more than doubling the number of people it is planning to feed in Niger, as a food crisis caused by drought in the eastern Sahel continues to spread.

The World Food Program is now expecting to feed more than 1.5 million people in next month's general food distribution, along with specialized therapeutic feeding for 500,000 children under the age of six.

That is because poor rains last year have brought forward the time when people no longer have enough to eat.

"The lean season normally starts in Niger towards June and July and lasts until September or October, which is the harvest time. But this year because of the bad harvest last year, the lean season started much earlier," says Gianluca Ferrera, WFP's deputy director for Niger.

Last year's cereal harvest in Niger was 26 percent below the previous year. Primary schools in the southern Zinder region are now closing, as families abandon the area and head toward the capital in search of food.

Ferrera says internally displaced civilians are far harder to feed then those who stay at home. So relief officials are hoping farmers return to their fields once the rains begin.

"What we have observed since the beginning of the year is an earlier movement, a migration of people leaving the rural areas toward urban areas," said Ferrera. "Starting from end of May early June we should be having rains. And normally people return back to their villages to do the agricultural work in preparation for the planting season. So we do expect to see some reverse movement in the weeks to come. And we are getting prepared to assist those people in their place of residence and not in an urban setting where it would be much more complex."

WFP is trying to raise $182 million to scale up its operations in Niger. Although Ferrera says donor response has been good, it is not yet adequate.

"We still have a huge shortfall estimated at around 50 million dollars, roughly 45,000 tons of food that we still need to meet the urgent needs of the population until September," Ferrera adds.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is also stepping in to aid cattle herders in Niger and Chad. Livestock pastures are dry, so herders are selling their animals at lower prices to buy food for their families.

Eight FAO projects in Niger worth more than $12 million are aimed at helping two million people. In Chad, the organization will supply more than four-million-dollars worth of seeds, fertilizer and animal feed. The distribution of animal feed and veterinary products is also underway in Mali and Burkina Faso, with at-risk farmers and herders across the Sahel expected to need assistance at least through August.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid