WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA Niger
Children eat a meal of cooked leaves from a communal plate, in a village in Maradi Region. Half of all children under age 5 suffer from acute malnutrition in a country that continues to experience chronically insufficient rainfall.
Sahel Humanitarian Action Update [PDF]
Children and Women in Crisis
Insufficient rainfall and pest infestations of crops leading up to the 2011–2012 harvest season have raised concerns of food shortages that would put poor households in the Niger at greater risk for food insecurity and further compromise the nutritional status of children in the country. According to 2011 survey data, one out of two children under 5 suffers from chronic malnutrition, and one out of five children 6–23 months old suffers from acute malnutrition.1 Every year during the rainy season, populations are affected by floods, in particular in regions bordering the Niger River. The spread of communicable diseases in the region remains a concern, as two cases of polio were confirmed in the Niger in 2011. Additionally, 2,126 cases of cholera and 10,510 cases of measles were recorded as of October 2011.2 Besides increased arms trafficking in the north of the country resulting from the war in Libya, an estimated 220,000 migrants returning to the Niger,3 in particular from Libya, have contributed to increased economic, humanitarian and security-related threats.
Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012
As cluster lead in nutrition, WASH and child protection, UNICEF will coordinate activities among partners to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and epidemics by responding to the humanitarian needs of women and children. UNICEF will also help to increase the resilience of the poorest households against undernutrition and disease through prevention activities such as vaccination and hygiene sensitization.
- UNICEF will treat more than 330,000 children 6–59 months old (146,000 girls and 184,000 boys) suffering from severe acute malnutrition through community-based management of acute malnutrition.
- In partnership with the World Food Programme, UNICEF will contribute to mitigate the negative impact of food insecurity on young children in areas most affected by food insecurity through blanket-feeding operations. To increase the effectiveness of blanket feeding, cash grant distribution will be provided to women with at least one child under 2.
- In coordination with the Ministry of Health and its partners within the health cluster, UNICEF will reach more than 3.2 million children under 5 in order to reduce child mortality resulting from polio, measles, meningitis, malaria and cholera.
- UNICEF will reduce the risk of waterborne diseases by providing safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to 140,000 victims of floods or cholera.
- UNICEF will ensure that 8,000 women and children receive gender-sensitive psychosocial support, reintegration services and legal assistance. Community sensitization and capacity building of humanitarian workers will be improved in areas affected by emergencies.
- UNICEF will train 15 youth groups in disaster risk reduction to engage with 20 vulnerable communities in flood-prone areas. Together with partners, UNICEF will support risk reduction activities prioritized by the communities and youth.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011
As of end of October 2011, UNICEF had received US$16,273,812 – or 44 per cent of the requested US$37,062,000 – for programmes in the Niger. UNICEF treated more than 224,000 children 6–59 months old for severe acute malnutrition, exceeding the expected 200,000 children. In collaboration with the World Food Programme and the Government of the Niger, UNICEF reached nearly 335,000 children and 64,000 breastfeeding women through blanket feeding operations. A cash transfer programme benefiting close to 21,000 highly vulnerable households during the hunger season was implemented in partnership with Save the Children.
As of October 2011, 632,000 cases of malaria among children under 5 were treated, while 733,641 children were vaccinated against meningitis. Another 500,000 children were immunized against measles and 57 children were treated for cholera.
When more than 220,000 people entered the Niger in 2011 fleeing armed conflicts in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire, UNICEF provided counseling and psychosocial services to close to 1,500 Nigeriens in the International Organization for Migration-managed transit centre of Dirkou and improved water and sanitation facilities for 1,000 people. The UNICEF-supported centre of Agadez sheltered and assisted 144 women and children, including 15 separated children.
Funding Requirements for 2012
UNICEF Niger is requesting US$30,025,000 to carry out its planned activities in 2012. UNICEF has aligned this amount with the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requirements. Failure to meet this funding target will deteriorate the well-being of tens of thousands of children affected by severe acute malnutrition and communicable diseases.
More information humanitarian action planned for 2012 can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2012.
1 National Institute of Statistics, National Nutrition Survey, June 2011.
2 Integrated Epidemiologic Surveillance database, National Health Information System, October 2011.
3 Information Note on migrants from Libya and the Ivory Coast, National Early Warning System Coordination cell, October 2011.