With food stocks destroyed, over 3.5 million people in Niger , and another 1.5 million in Mali are now in desperate need of food. More than 150,000 children are already suffering from severe malnutrition.
Both cereal and fodder crops were devastated by locusts last year in the worst insect swarms for 15 years. Without fodder, the livestock are dying in great numbers.
Food Prices Rocket
Cereal prices have almost doubled, and granaries are empty. In a country where two thirds of the population live on less than $1 a day, many cannot afford to buy what little food is available.
Seeds which should have been planted for the next harvest, have instead been eaten in desperation. The October harvest is still four months away. Without immediate food aid, many already malnourished children will die.
Islamic Relief's Action
Two assessment teams from Islamic Relief's Mali office have returned with reports from the worst affected regions in Niger and Northern Mali .
Islamic Relief has already pledged =A31 million to respond to the emergency. Initial plans are to reach around 200,000 people with:
1) Emergency Food Aid
- Monthly food distributions targeting the most vulnerable including children, women and the elderly in Tilaberi, Tahoua and Wallam districts in Niger
- Establish 30 supplementary feeding centres around Tillaberi, Tahoua and Wallam in Niger
- Establish 2 therapeutic feeding centres in Tillaberi city and Tahoua.
- Dig 30 borehole wells in Tillaberi, Tahoua and Wallam
Islamic Relief plans to work in partnership with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF to provide emergency food relief.
Islamic Relief has been working in Mali since 1997 and has a field office in the capital city, Bamako as well as Gourma Rharous in the north.