Aid agency increases action in Niger as half population need food assistance

By staff writers
July 13, 2010

World Vision is stepping up its emergency response in Niger as the country faces its worst food crisis in years.

About half of the population – 7.1 million people – are in need of food assistance as a result of failed harvests following poor rains. Almost 500,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished.

The West African country is one of the poorest in the world and experiences frequent food shortages.

The vast majority of people in Niger are either farmers or herdsmen who rely on rains to plant crops or find pastures for their animals.

"This is devastating on a scale we haven't seen in Niger for years," said Mark Bulpitt, Head of Humanitarian Emergencies at World Vision UK.

"If we don't act now, this could be catastrophic for children and their families."

World Vision began scaling up its food and nutrition emergency response in Niger earlier this year. The organisation is treating severely malnourished children under the age of five and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and providing food to affected children in areas worst hit by the crisis.

The organisation works to make a serious and sustainable impact on poverty and its causes, especially as they affect children, and is committed to long-term change in Niger.

World Vision monitors the progress of all sponsored children, and staff in Niger are currently checking the nutritional status of children in any affected programme areas.

The organisation is appealing to supporters to donate to the Niger food crisis appeal through its website.


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