Niger + 3 more

Food crisis is affecting more than Niger

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Concern is currently responding to a potentially devastating food crisis in the west African country of Niger. Almost 4 million people are at risk of starvation and children are already dying in large numbers. However according to Concern CEO, Tom Arnold who this morning returned from an extensive visit to Africa, Niger is reflective of a broader picture of food scarcity in Africa, "Niger is in fact only the tip of the iceberg. 12 African countries in which Concern are working are facing into food crises of a staggering scale. 30 million people are in need of urgent help. Without immediate international action we will see these situations deteriorate over the coming weeks and months".

On visiting Concern's work in three African countries; Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, Tom said. "I return with mixed emotions. I am always humbled by the resilience of the very poor people with whom Concern works. On this occasion however I also return with deep foreboding about the gathering food crisis in Africa."

Tom continued, "The terrible scenes of starving children in Niger have touched our hearts and but the sad reality is that Niger is just one of about 15 African countries facing major food problems over the coming months. We estimate that the lives and livelihoods of 30 million people are at risk."

The reasons for the crisis are complex. They include drought, grinding poverty, conflict, bad governance and HIV/AIDS. There are no quick fixes or easy answers. Concern is working in almost all of the countries facing the food crisis. Concern are feeding the hungry - as in Niger, Sudan and Ethiopia and tackling the root causes of hunger through improving education, health and agriculture and providing water.

Tom would like to explain how hunger impacts on people's lives, with women and children frequently the main victims and discuss how to identify what can and must be done if the problem is to be solved.