Fact sheet - Niger

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 20 Jul 2010
The crisis in Niger

-        Niger is at the epicentre of the food and malnutrition crisis in the Sahel: 7.1 million people in Niger - 47.7 percent of the country's population - are food insecure.

-        Niger's humanitarian situation has considerably deteriorated over the past three months. The country is in the midst of a three-faceted emergency: food insecurity, a nutritional emergency and a pastoral emergency.

Food insecurity:

-        Severe food insecurity affects 25.8 percent of the urban population and 21.5 percent of the rural populations.

-        There has been a significant increase in the number of severely food-insecure people in the last year, from 2.6 million in December 2009 to 3.3 million people in April 2010.

Nutrition:

There has been a serious deterioration in the nutritional situation of children across Niger. A UNICEF survey on 24 June found that the global acute malnutrition rate has reached 16.7 percent for children under age five, far above the 15 percent emergency threshold and the 12.3 percent rate estimated in 2009.

The situation is particularly serious in the regions of Diffa (22.1% of children under 5 suffering from global acute malnutrition), Maradi (19.7%) Zinder (17.8%) and Tahoua (15.8%).

More than 120,000 children have been treated between January and June 2010, with a sharp increase in admissions since mid-May.

Pastoralists:

-        The pastoral situation is becoming extremely critical in all regions, due to a second consecutive year of fodder and water deficit for animals which is increasing risks of widespread animal diseases and animal mortality rates.

-        In the northern region of Maradi, pastoralists are forced to sell off their animals at prices as low as 1.000 to 2.000 FCFA (the equivalent of US$2 to 4) for a goat or a cow.

Humanitarian response

A range of assistance efforts are ongoing in Niger, operated jointly by the Government, the UN and NGOs, including (but not limited to):

-        a WFP-UNICEF blanket feeding operation to prevent acute malnutrition among 644,000 children aged between 6 and 23 months.

-        the joint Government-WFP operation of free targeted food distributions launched in mid-May, targeting approximately 1.5 million people during the lean period;

-        the subsidized cereal sale operation to improve access to 30 percent of food-insecure populations for three months;

-        Cash for Work activities targeting 30 percent of food-insecure populations for three months;

-        Cash Transfer activities operated by NGOs in seven regions.

-        WFP Emergency Operation in August: food distribution and cash transfer for families with children suffering from malnutrition, with a first estimated caseload of approximately 7.9 million people, or more than half the population.

Financing

-        In light of the urgency of the situation as confirmed by the June nutrition survey, the humanitarian response in the country needs to be significantly scaled up.

-        To meet the acute need in Niger, OCHA has revised its Emergency Appeal to support urgent assistance to the most vulnerable populations. This Appeal is for US$371 million, up from the original $190 million. $229 million has yet to be funded.

Priorities

The immediate priority for humanitarian partners is to gather all available resources to provide assistance to food insecure populations and to limit diseases and losses of human life across Niger.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.