Hunger and Malnutrition Crisis Resurfaces in Niger

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Action Against Hunger - USA
Susannah Masur, Communications Officer, ACF-USA
Direct: 212-967-7800 x133
Action Against Hunger - Spain
Carlos Riaza, Prensa y Comunicación Institucional, ACF-Spain
criaza@achesp.org
Direct: +34 91 391 53 06

Hunger and Malnutrition Crisis Resurfaces in Niger

Action Against Hunger launches emergency programs to lessen impact of food shortages on affected families

NEW YORK - In response to massive food shortages and staggering acute
malnutrition rates in Niger, global humanitarian organization Action
Against Hunger | ACF International
launched an emergency
response to provide nutritional support to children, increase the income
of vulnerable families, and bolster a national initiative to dampen the
impact of the crisis. These interventions come on the heel of an
announcement by the government of Niger that the rate of severe food
insecurity in the country has tripled since last year.

Government authorities estimate that nearly a million children in Niger
are moderately malnourished and another 200,000 have severe acute
malnutrition, a life-threatening condition. Over 58% of Niger's
population is deemed food insecure, according to recent surveys.
Assessments conducted in December by the Nigerien government showed
that some 7.8 million people will be forced to cope without food
reserves for at least six months before the October harvest; food stocks
for severely insecure households-approximately 20% of the
population-have already been depleted. These severe food shortages
result from a number of factors, including drought-like conditions, high
staple food prices, and a sharp drop in the market price of cattle.

"The food situation in Niger has reached a critical stage," says Lauren
Taylor, Niger Desk Officer for Action Against Hunger, which has
delivered humanitarian programs in Niger since 1997. "Families with no
other options are going days without eating or are resorting to begging
and borrowing to cope with massive shortfalls."

Action Against Hunger is providing logistical and technical support for
the Nigerien government's response, which includes cash-for-work
programs to create 800 new village grain banks and reinforce another
1,000 existing banks, food and seed distributions to vulnerable
households during the planting season, and bolstering national grain
reserves. The national plan covers approximately 30% of the food
insecure population for three months.

In addition, a program to provide nutritional care for children under
five is intended to reach 378,000 children with severe acute
malnutrition and more than 1.2 million children with a moderate form of
the condition. The government will also provide a blanket distribution
of supplementary nutrition products to 500,000 children between six and
23 months of age as a preventative measure against malnutrition.

ACF is also launching an emergency intervention in the Mayahi province
of southern Niger to provide nutritional support to roughly 18,000
acutely malnourished children under five and cash-based grants to 1,900
vulnerable people to boost purchasing power at local food markets.

Funding for Action Against Hunger's programs is being provided by the
Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, the European Commission's
Humanitarian Aid department, the UK Department for International
Development and its West Africa Humanitarian Response Fund, UNICEF, the
French Development Agency, the Catalan Agency for Development
Cooperation, and Accenture.

Despite these programs, the population's needs far outstrip available
resources. Action Against Hunger is calling on donors to curb the impact
of the crisis through immediate funding for nutrition, food security,
and livelihoods.

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Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim (ACF), an international relief and development organization committed to saving the lives of malnourished children and families, provides sustainable access to safe water and long-term solutions to hunger. For nearly three decades, ACF has pursued its vision of a world without hunger by combating hunger in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster, and chronic food insecurity.

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