Niger

Caritas responds to crisis in Niger

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Caritas Australia is now accepting donations for the people of Niger in Western Africa who are suffering from severe food shortages.

More than three million people in Niger are experiencing starvation as a result of failed crops caused by a severe drought and locust plagues.

Caritas Australia's local partner on the ground in Niger, Caritas Niger, has been responding to this present crisis since November, 2004 and is now working tirelessly to distribute food aid to those most in need.

Caritas Niger is currently providing 1,500 tonnes of food to more than 28,000 people in seven regions of Niger : Agadez, Diffa, Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillaberry-Niamey and Zinderand. 75 tonnes of seed are also being provided to plant crops.

Caritas Niger has established a food for work program in which those able to work can earn food for their families and distribute food to the most vulnerable. It is also providing seeds for planting and fodder for animals.

Most people do not have any savings to see them through a severe food shortage. The cost of food has increased dramatically and selling cattle for money is no longer an option as most animals are emaciated and worth very little. The situation is desperate.

Caritas Niger has a long history of working with local communities in Niger implementing both development and humanitarian programs. Caritas will be there before, during and after the headlines.

Caritas Australia Director Jack de Groot said; "Once again lives will be lost needlessly to hunger. It is completely unacceptable that people in the 21 st century cannot afford to eat everyday and it is a moral outrage that people should die of starvation due to the lack of a few million dollars."

"This waste of precious life is exactly what the Make Poverty History campaign is working to end forever."

For more information please contact Margaret Rice on (0417) 284 831