© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-2868/Pirozzi

A malnourished child lies at a therapeutic feeding centre in the city of Maradi. Acute malnutrition rates in most parts of the country are above 10 per cent and stunting affects half of all children under five.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

Niger continues to suffer a plethora of acute emergencies, including heavy flooding, seasonal cholera and meningitis outbreaks.  In addition, although peace talks in May 2009 calmed a two-year insurgency in the northern part of the country leading to some resettlement, tensions remain.  Another challenge will be the rehabilitation of infrastructure in a region hit by heavy flooding in September 2009 which displaced over 100,000 people. Acute malnutrition rates in most regions of Niger are above 10 per cent - higher than internationally recognized critical levels – and stunting affects almost one out of every two children under five.

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

UNICEF will work with the Ministry of Health and other partners to reduce acute malnutrition rates and promote adequate health, nutrition and hygiene practices for up to 300,000 children.  As an immediate measure, UNICEF will increase its emergency preparedness including pre-positioning of vaccines for children under five, as well as other medical supplies and preparedness training at the national and regional level, to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, floods and displacement.

Health: The medical needs of 10,000 women and children displaced by floods or conflict will be covered by a contingency stock. National emergency health preparedness will also be reinforced through the pre-positioning of vaccines for 1.3 million children, and medical supplies and drugs to treat those affected by meningitis and cholera. In case of an Influenza A (H1N1) epidemic, communication tools will be produced and disseminated, as per the national response plan.

Nutrition: UNICEF will continue to lead the Nutrition Thematic Working Group and work with government, NGO partners, communities, and other United Nations agencies to bring the rate of acute malnutrition below 10 per cent and to reduce the prevalence of stunting.  This will be done through improved case management of severe acute malnutrition for 50,000 children - 60 per cent of all cases - and prevention activities such as a blanket feeding for 250,000 children and promotion of infant feeding practices.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Sufficient safe water supply, sanitation facilities and hygiene kits will be available for up to 50,000 persons affected by floods or cholera outbreaks. The UNICEF-led WASH Cluster will also build sanitation facilities to ensure the privacy and security of women and girls, and conduct anti-vectorial spraying to reduce diseases like malaria and meningitis.

Education: Children in the affected areas of northern Niger will benefit from access to a safe learning environment through reconstruction of the six schools destroyed in the September 2009 floods.  UNICEF has also pre-positioned school kits and materials to build temporary learning spaces in the event of further displacement from floods or other disasters.

Child Protection: Some 8,000 children and youth made vulnerable through displacement will be protected through the setting up of safe spaces, the provision of psychosocial support, mine risk education and assistance for victims, and provision of non-food items for 10,000 women and children.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Health 2,475,000
Nutrition 14,723,200
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 800,000
Education 700,000
Child Protection 550,000
Total 19,248,200