CAFOD steps up response to Niger food crisis

Lamichi Nabirmi, 32, receives food ration through CAFOD for her two-year-old son.

Lamichi Nabirmi, 32, receives food ration through CAFOD for her two-year-old son.

CAFOD is scaling up its humanitarian response to the massive food shortages and staggering acute malnutrition rates in Niger.  The government of Niger has announced that the rate of severe food insecurity in the country has tripled since last year, and latest statistics indicate nearly 17 per cent of children under five are now suffering from acute malnutrition and life-threatening conditions. That’s over a third higher than the number recorded last year.

It’s estimated that nearly a million children in Niger are malnourished, and another 200,000 have severe acute malnutrition. The food shortages are the result of a deadly combination of drought-like conditions, crop failure, pest infestations, increases in food prices and abject levels of poverty, forcing people to leave their homes, and sell or kill their starving livestock. Around 7.8 million people may have to cope without food reserves before the October harvest.

“The situation is not getting any better," said CAFOD's Senior Humanitarian Response Officer, Philippe Mougin, "families are going for days without eating."

"We’re providing our partners - Caritas Niger, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Islamic Relief – with technical and logistical support during the crisis. By increasing our nutritional support to children, and our cash-for-work programme, we’re reaching out to more vulnerable families in a time of crisis.

"Despite the provision of programmes like these, the needs of the most vulnerable in Niger far outstrip available resources. Philippe added: "It is not just about the immediate funding needed to support this crisis, but also planning for the future. CAFOD and its partners are committed to longer-term programmes that will support families to cope with the repetitive cycle of drought, through better and more sustainable food security, and livelihoods."

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