Niger + 3 more

£8 million raised for DEC Niger Crisis Appeal - more funds needed to expand work in affected regions

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In only 72 hours the DEC has received over £8 million via phones and online from generous donors throughout the UK for the Niger Crisis Appeal.

More funding is urgently needed to ensure charities can expand their emergency work in Niger and neighbouring countries of Mauritania, Mali and Burkina Faso.

The need in West Africa is huge. Almost 5 million people in Niger, Mauritania, Mali and Burkina Faso face severe food shortages unless they receive urgent food aid. In Niger, the worst affected country, some 2.5 million people need help now, none more so than 800,000 children left vulnerable by the crisis. Money raised so far will ensure that many of the people who are most in need will receive this help, but Member Agencies are scaling up the response across the region and to prevent future emergencies. The United Nations has increased its appeal for the amount of emergency aid needed for poverty-stricken Niger to £42million.

Christian Aid is already spending money on emergency food and animal fodder. Future plans include improving disaster mitigation systems to reduce the impact of future shocks on the most vulnerable populations in the Sahel region.

Save the Children is working in Maradi and Zinder districts with a very large supplementary feeding and community-based therapeutic care programme. They also plan to support existing government health structures with materials and training.

CARE International is ready to implement food distribution of up to 11,000 tonnes from now until the end of August, Concern has established a nutrition programme which will treat 300 children on a daily basis. The British Red Cross has established bases to supply mobile feeding centres and will manage health programmes when further funding comes through.

Brendan Gormley from the DEC said: 'Once again families across the UK are responding very generously so lives can be saved. We can now make a real impact in Niger and for the people facing hunger in Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. '

Donations to the DEC Niger Crisis Appeal can be made at: www.dec.org.uk, or by phoning the Disasters Emergency Committee on 0870 60 60 900. Donations can also be made by going into any high street post office or bank.

For further information call the DEC press office on 0207 387 0200.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The Disasters Emergency Committee is made up of the UK's leading international development and relief charities. Those involved in the Niger Crisis Appeal are: ActionAid, British Red Cross, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

Donations to the DEC Niger Crisis Appeal can be made at: www.dec.org.uk, or by phoning the Disasters Emergency Committee on 0870 60 60 900. Donations can also be made by going into any high street post office or bank.