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Us$133 million needed to address food security and nutrition in Niger

 

Joint Press release OCHA and humanitarian actors

Niamey/Dakar/Geneva/New York, 7 April 2010 - The Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan (EHAP) requires US$190 million to support the government’s plan in tackling the current two priority challenges for Niger: food insecurity and malnutrition. With $57 million received or committed, $133 million is still needed.

Niger is facing a severe food crisis resulting from erratic rainfall in 2009, which caused serious shortages of both cereals and fodder. Some 7.8 million people, more than half of the country’s population (58 per cent), are food insecure, according to a national rapid survey conducted in December 2009.

Due to the fodder shortage, livestock are at risk, a situation further exacerbated by lack of water access and the rapid drying-up of water supply sources.

Food insecurity has also caused massive population displacement from rural to urban areas and into neighbouring countries. Schools and health centres are closing down in the most affected regions, and an increasing number of children are being admitted in therapeutic feeding centres.

This situation has serious implications for morbidity and mortality rates among the most vulnerable--children under-five and pregnant and lactating women.

It is estimated that 378,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition and 1.2 million cases of moderate acute malnutrition among children under five, as well as 35,000 cases among pregnant and lactating women, will be registered in the next twelve months if urgent actions are not taken.

"The main focus of the United Nations and its partners is to save lives in Niger and help people escape looming food insecurity and malnutrition", said Khardiata Lo N’Diaye, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Niger.

"It is more than the right time to take serious humanitarian action".

The EHAP is a response to the Government of Niger’s appeal for international assistance, launched on 10 March, to mobilize additional funds quickly and provide timely assistance to vulnerable populations threatened by food insecurity and malnutrition.

It includes projects proposed by nine non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and five UN organisations, developed with the participation of the Government.

The Nigerien authorities have begun the sale of cereals at subsidized prices in all regions, as well as cash-for-work programs in the most affected regions, in partnership with NGOs.

Interventions specific to the pastoralists’ crisis have also begun. But more resources are urgently needed to fill the gaps and allow for large-scale food and nutritional interventions across the country.

"We urge the international community to respond swiftly and ensure that humanitarian agencies have the required financial resources to respond to Niger’s urgent needs", added Mrs. Lo N’Diaye.

"We hope that, with the support of donors, all partners will be able to strongly support those in need".

The results of a comprehensive household vulnerability survey, currently being conducted in rural and urban areas, as well as those of the national June/July Child Survival and Nutrition Survey, will help fine tune the amplitude of the crisis and the review of needs and priorities.

For more information, please contact:
OCHA-Niamey: Modibo Traoré, +227 96 00 90 97, traorem@un.org;  OCHA-New York: Stephanie Bunker, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 347 244 2106, bunker@un.org; Nicholas Reader, +1 212 963 4961, mobile +1 646 752 3117, reader@un.org; OCHA-Geneva: Elisabeth Byrs, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 473 4570, byrs@un.org;

 

 
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