Niger + 9 more

CARE International responding to African food shortages

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CARE International is working in Niger and across Africa to address food shortages, help people combat the impact of drought, and improve food production.

Nearly a dozen countries in Africa are facing severe food shortages this year. The UN estimates that more than 30 million people in East, West and Southern Africa will need food aid in coming months.

In Niger, CARE is delivering food and seeds to thousands of starving families, and has been preparing for this crisis since last year. Between October and December 2004, CARE International distributed about 50,700 tonnes of wheat to 82 villages. Around 375 tonnes of cereals have also been distributed to more than 11,000 people - a quarter of whom were women. Now, CARE is trying to secure more aid to feed the hungry.

"The government of Niger has tried to deal with this emergency, but Niger is the second-poorest country in the world. They need outside help, or people will starve," said Gail Neudorf, CARE International Emergency Team Coordinator.

Using lessons learned from the last major drought in 2002, CARE is working with other partners in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to help people prevent and recover from food shortages. In Kenya, CARE is distributing food. In Mali, CARE is working with the government to reduce the impact of the locust infestation on the food supply. In Eritrea, a seed fair project is providing seed and ploughing to 2,700 families. In Mozambique and Somalia, CARE works in drought-prone regions to improve food productivity. In Ethiopia, the community-based therapeutic care programme saves children suffering from severe malnutrition.

To arrange telephone interviews with CARE International spokespeople, please contact:

Fiona Turnbull, 0207 934 9315, turnbull@careinternational.org, Sophie Kummer, 0207 934 9347, kummer@careinternational.org, or Amber Meikle on 020 7934 9348, meikle@careinternational.org.