Niger is currently facing a combination of rapid onset and protracted humanitarian crises


Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa. It covers an area of 1,267,000 km2, three-quarters of which is Saharan desert. In Niger, the rainy season lasts only three months and there may be only 150 millimeters of water per year. At the same time, maximum temperatures are high, reaching 45°C in the shade between April and May. Vegetation cover is sparse and nomadic agriculture is dominant.

Niger is currently facing a combination of rapid onset and protracted humanitarian crises. Niger is exposed to several natural and man-made hazards such as droughts, locust’s invasion, livestock and crop diseases, floods, windstorms, forest fires, epidemics, and conflicts that have historically had multiple impacts on the lives and well-being of children and their families, also increasing their pre-existing vulnerabilities to hazards.

According to UNICEF's Humanitarian Action For Children (HAC) 2022 report, this year approximately
2.7 million people will face food insecurity; approximately 1.3 million children under the age of 5 will be malnourished, including more than 432,804 children who will be severely acutely malnourished (SAM);
and nearly 1.3 million people will need access to emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene services. Nearly 400,000 children may not attend school due to insecurity or flood damage to schools. In 2021, 200,866 people have already been affected by the floods, while the country has recorded 5,070 cases of cholera (including 1,765 children under 15 years of age) and 154 associated deaths (including 28 children). (UNICEF HAC).

Ongoing hostilities between armed groups along the borders with Burkina Faso, Libya, Mali, and Nigeria have resulted in significant population displacement.The growing number of internally displaced persons, refugees, returnees, and migrants in Niger is straining the resources of host communities and increasing their vulnerability. Overall, the Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 (HRP 2022) estimates that in 2022, 3,700,000 people will need humanitarian assistance, including 2,035,000 children (55%).

This report states that unfortunately, due to the impact of various disasters on their lives but also to vulnerabilities in social systems, children have limited access to key essential services, (such as water, sanitation and hygiene, health, education and social protection) which increase their vulnerability to climate change, shocks and stress. In addition, vulnerabilities and exposures also interact with each other, which can amplify the effects.

The report also points out that, overall, the social sectors and services are poorly prepared to prevent, mitigate, and respond to crises and disasters because the country focuses more on preparedness and response. Furthermore, while there is a fairly comprehensive national legal and operational framework on disaster risk management and climate change in the country, at the sectoral level there is not yet a strong sectoral institutional framework for identifying, planning for, and responding to disasters. A prerequisite would be to strengthen the understanding of the impact of risks not only on children and their families, but also on different sectors and service providers, so that risk-sensitive interventions can then be implemented.

The report also highlights the importance of applying an integrated approach to multi-hazard risk reduction programming. Evidence shows that communities rarely face a single, isolated threat, but a diversity of risks that interact and exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities, calling for strengthened risk-based programming across all sectors.

In recent years, UNICEF has supported the effort to apply a climate and risk perspective to programming through the organization of a GRIP (Guidance on Risk-Informed Programming) workshop in 2021, a Strategic Moment of Reflection (SMR) in 2021; the organization of a UNICEF WCARO (West and Central Africa Region) webinar series in January 2021: "Resilience Deep Dive" and in April 2021 "Introduction to Risk-Informed Programming in Support of the New Country Program."

In addition, from October 2021 to January 2022, the UNICEF Niger country office conducted a Child Risk and Impact Analysis (CRIA) in Niger.The objective was to provide a comprehensive analysis of not only shocks and stresses, but also vulnerabilities, capacities, and exposure levels that determine risk to help design deliberate program strategies to reduce risks to children and their communities, help maintain and foster peace, and avert crises before they occur.

This pre-analysis report is essentially an attempt to understand, categorize, assess, and prioritize risks that affect or could affect children's well-being and development, and that can potentially impede the country's progress towards meeting international commitments, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

This risk analysis should enable all sectors and departments, including UN agencies, government departments at the national and regional level, civil society and universities, concerned with the welfare and development of children, to plan and implement risk-informed programs to safeguard development gains by minimizing the risk and impact of disasters and to enable the state to achieve sustainable development.

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