Impending famine in Niger: U.N. says help is slow in coming

New York (dpa) - More than 2.5 million people in the northwest African nation of Niger are threatened by famine, but the international community has refused to act on U.N. calls for help, the United Nations humanitarian affairs coordinator Jan Egeland said.
Approximately every third inhabitant of Niger is threatened by famine, including 800,000 children who are undernourished. About 150,000 of these children are already close to death, Egeland said.

This humanitarian catastrophe loomed for months in Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, following a locust plague last year and a drought that lasted long into this summer.

''We could have prevented this and the world community didn't,'' Egeland said.

Last March, the United Nations had already asked the world for 16 million dollars in donations for Niger, but only 1 million dollars came in.

During its latest appeal in May, the United Nations estimated that 30 million dollars are now needed to combat the famine. dpa go amh pr


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