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Hunger crisis in Niger

7.8 million people are facing malnutrition due to a hunger crisis in Niger. Urgent international action is needed before this crisis spirals out of control and becomes a major human tragedy.

In January 2010, the government of Niger warned that a food crisis on the scale of its 2005 emergency was looming. Now, nearly 60% of the population are facing malnutrition.

The UN has now issued an urgent appeal for €182m to prevent a major hunger crisis in the central African country.

Decisive action needed

Concern’s CEO Tom Arnold issued a warning to the international community, saying:

The alarm bells are sounding and the international community must act now. Concern, the UN and other agencies are calling for urgent support to deal with this crisis before it gets out of hand. Early and decisive action is what is required here.

Too often, television images draw attention to an international hunger crisis when it has already taken hold and is too late for many. We are drawing attention to this right now to prevent it becoming a terrible and tragic catastrophe.

Drought

The crisis is a result of repeated drought-induced crop failures in the predominantly agriculture-led country. The population of 15.2 million is largely comprised of farmers and pastoralists who depend on rain to sustain the crops and livestock that are their sole sources of income and food.

Concern in Niger

Concern has been in Niger since 2002, focusing on education, health and improving access to food for the most vulnerable communities. We began tracking the first signs of this crisis and preparing a response in late 2009.

Cash distributions

Concern is responding by delivering emergency cash to 10,000 families. 2,500 of those families are receiving cash through the use of mobile phones. This innovative technique has already been hugely successful for us in Kenya and elsewhere. Find out more .

Taking action

Concern is also taking action in the hard-hit Tahoua region with an urgent response that will benefit up to 280,000 of the most exposed people. This includes a seeds and fertilizer distribution, as well as a nutrition programme that will support over 36,000 of the most vulnerable children through the course of 2010.

>> Read the latest updates about Niger