|© UNICEF Niger/2005|
|A severely malnourished child receives aid at a therapeutic feeding centre. Some 30,000 children in the country are severely malnourished.|
An estimated 3.6 million people, including 800,000 children under five years of age, have been made vulnerable after drought and crop-destroying locusts ruined last year's harvest in Niger. Admissions at UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding centers in Niger are rising, with more than twice as many children requiring care than during the same time period last year.
UNICEF Niger has issued an additional emergency appeal for US$14.6 million to care for 32,000 children suffering from severe under-nutrition and 160,000 children suffering from moderate under-nutrition in Niger and to help stop a deadly cycle of starvation. UNICEF issued an appeal for Niger in April of $1.35 million, bringing the total request for funding at approximately $16 million.
Without immediate and large-scale action, the food crisis is threatening to spread throughout the region, including neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. UN teams in these countries are closely monitoring the situation to help prevent the Niger crisis from repeating itself elsewhere in the region.
For interviews and other details from the ground, contact UNICEF press officers:
Niger: Kent Page, Regional Communication Officer;
tel: (227) 722-840 or cell (227) 532-129;
Thoraya Satellite phone +88216-5420 2449
Geneva: Damien Personnaz, Communication Officer;
tel: +41 22 909 5716 or mob: +41 79 216 94 01
New York: Gordon Weiss, Emergency Communication Officer,
Note to broadcasters: B-roll footage of affected children in Niger is available free of charge at www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef.