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Millions hungry in Niger

I’ve just arrived in Niger. There is an emerging crisis here, with 7.8 million people facing food shortages. I’ve come to assess the situation firsthand.

 

From experience

For over 41 years, we’ve been dealing with situations like this. In 2005, Niger suffered a serious food crisis. People died, but large scale loss of life was prevented by the international humanitarian response. Concern made a significant contribution to that response.

Failed rains

Now, in 2010, Niger again faces a serious food crisis. The production of millet, Niger's most important food crop, has fallen by 24% due to failed rains. The government of Niger has appealed to the international community to support the 7.8 million people – almost half the population – who are facing serious hunger.

Hungry months

The next harvest is not due until October. So, the period from June to October – the traditional “hungry months” – is a time of major risk unless action is taken.  

What are we doing? 

While here, I will be looking at Concern’s response. So far, it has been a combination of seed and fertiliser distribution, support for children under five and support for pregnant and lactating mothers. 

Cash distributions 

We are also using an innovative system of cash distribution to reach the most vulnerable people using mobile phones. Over the next six days, I hope to share with you my impressions of the situation in Niger via Twitter and my blog here on www.concern.net. 

More to come soon