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From threat to a reality

Amanda McClelland, Concern’s emergency nutrition and food security manager sent us this report about our intensifying work in Niger.

I arrived in Niger three months ago to help the Concern to respond to the emerging food crisis here.

Emergency

It’s hard to say when exactly this shifted from an “impending crisis” to a real humanitarian emergency, but we are there now. And we are putting every bit of the planning this team has done since December to the test.

Food shortages

The official food security survey of April 2010 states that there are 7.1 million people facing hunger. 3.3 million of those are considered to be facing extreme food shortages and unable to feed their families without help. Concern’s programme is in Tahoua, the second worst affected part of the country.

Distributions and nutrition

Every day, we are working to prevent rates of malnutrition from reaching emergency stages. We are distributing seed packs and fertiliser to help families plant crops in time for the next harvest. We are also providing nutrition support to children under five, pregnant women and mothers.

Mobile phone programme

To target the most vulnerable women, we are launching an innovative use of mobile phone technology to distribute emergency cash. We have high hopes for this programme and we are starting to see its great potential. Read more about this programme. (link)

Infrastructure

What we are doing sounds easy when I write it, but delivering aid in Niger is anything but easy. Some of the people we need to reach are nomadic and frequently on the move in search of fodder and water for their animals. This is the least developed country in the world: roads, supply chains and basic infrastructure are poor. Transporting large amounts of supplies over long distances is expensive and time consuming and sometimes, just not possible.

Concern’s CEO Tom Arnold recently visited this area of Niger. Read his latest updates.