The international aid organization Action Against Hunger is stepping up its response to stave off a famine that the UN warns could affect 2.5 million people - 800,000 of whom are children.
Action Against Hunger has begun distributing more than 4,000 tons of food in Mali and Niger to alleviate the effects of a drought that has increased the vulnerability of populations wandering in search of water and grazing land for their animals. Action Against Hunger is adding to its emergency teams (nutritionists, medical coordinators, experts in food security, logistics, etc) to meet the urgent needs of the countries' most vulnerable populations, especially children: One in three children younger than five in Mali and Niger suffers from severe malnutrition.
ACF Programs In Mali
Action Against Hunger plans to distribute more than 4,000 tons of rice, oil, and flour to at least 15,000 people over the next six months. The organization is also constructing and rehabilitating water sources for people and animals, as well as supplemental nutrition points (where therapeutic milk and nutritional supplements will be distributed) to treat malnutrition in children younger than five, and sanitary centers to treat severe infant malnutrition.
ACF Programs In Niger
At the end of July, Action Against Hunger will begin providing food for about 20,000 families and treating malnutrition in 27,000 children younger than five to reduce infant mortality in the Dakoro, Keita, Mayayi, and Tahoua regions. Action Against Hunger also plans to reinforce the capacity of public sanitary facilities.
The Situation in the Sahel - a Region of Niger
The weak agricultural production and scarcity of cattle pastures due to lack of rain coupled with the invasion of desert locusts at the end of last year have provoked a serious food crisis. According to Nuria Salse, nutritionist for Action Against Hunger:
"The grazing land for cattle, which is very scarce due to the drought, is growing slowly and only in certain regions. In addition, the harvests will not be collected until October, which will leave millions of people in an extremely vulnerable situation. It is important that the international community gets involved as soon as possible to support the populations in these countries and to avoid a possible famine."