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Niger: Complex Emergency Appeal no. MDRNE010 Final report

Situation Report
Originally published
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Period covered by this final report: December 2011 to May 2013.

Appeal target (current): CHF 3,375,048

Appeal coverage: 52%;

Appeal history:

· The Emergency Appeal was initially launched on 30 January 2012 for CHF 3,756,836 for nine months to assist 350,000 beneficiaries in six regions: Diffa, Tahoua, Dosso,Tillabéry, Maradi and Zinder

· CHF 126,768 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 21 December, 2011 to support the Red Cross Society of Niger (RCSN) to provide initial assistance to some 6,500 households in affected villages in four regions Tillabéry, Tahoua, Dosso, and Diffa, and assess the needs of the population in the two additional regions of Zinder and Maradi. DREF has been refunded with unearmarked funding.

· The Revised Emergency Appeal was launched on 28 August 2012 and became a complex operation to support the Red Cross Society of Niger (RCSN) to deliver assistance to 32,000 households (224,000 beneficiaries) which include 17,000 Malian refugees and people affected by cholera outbreak. The revised appeal also covered a six month Operation Update. The timeframe was extended to 12 months and was to be completed by the end of February 2013. The delays in funding led to prioritizing urgent needs and scaling down activities that were no longer appropriate and concentrate on recovery with counter season food security activities in the regions of Tillabéry and Diffa.

· A 10-month summary update providing the progress of the operation from the start until November 2012 was issued on 7 December, 2012.

· Operation Update n° 3 was issued on 7 February 2013 announcing a three month extension, bringing the operational timeframe to a total of 15 months to the end of May 2013.

Summary: Several complex disasters worsened the humanitarian conditions in addition to the food insecurity, with outbreaks of cholera and population movement. A holistic and integrated community based response was implemented through a twin-track approach, combining simultaneous short-term relief and longer-term interventions building community resilience. The short-term emergency interventions included the provision of food for households without access to food and markets; direct cash transfer for households with access to food and markets and cash-for-work (CFW) for those able to work and with access to food and markets.

Cash activities supported a total of 712 households. In Tahoua and Tillabéry 325 households were involved in cash for work activities digging half-moons for water retention and on sand barriers. In Diffa 387 households participated in CFW activities fixing sand dunes to protect villages and establishment of eight vegetable gardens covering 153 hectares. Longer-term needs were addressed through the rehabilitation of existing cereal banks and the construction of new ones to enable families in remote villages to have a direct access to seed diversification as well to the most commonly used cereal seeds at a low price. A total of 37.5 tonnes of improved seeds, fertilizer and tools were distributed to 2,500 families in 14 villages as well as to women-led community vegetable gardens to increase, diversify and improve their food intake as well as creating sources of income with the sale of vegetables.

RCSN engaged in a local partnership with UNICEF for emergency nutritional activities targeting children under 5 years and mothers in Dosso, Diffa and Niamey and included:

· screening and the referral to health centres of acutely malnourished children aged between six months to five years and pregnant and lactating women;

· Support to health centres with health promotion and address the on-going chronic malnutrition problems through nutritional education sessions on breastfeeding of infant and improve feeding practices of young child.

The local field partnerships with WFP and FAO covered emergency food needs simultaneously with seed distributions on time for the main planting season. Emergency food was also distributed to some 20,000 Malian refugees and host families in the Tillabéry and Tahoua regions.

In addition the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners based in Niger including the ICRC, Spanish, French, Irish, Luxemburg, Monaco, Qatar and Iran have been working in a coordinated manner to support the RCSN scale-up food security response activities. The Norwegian Red Cross covered the costs of two operations managers and united with the Swedish Red Cross to support the costs of several activities from the plan of action including building cereal banks.

Longer term support prolonging the appeal’s plan of action, particularly addressing the chronic food insecurity has been secured with funding outside the appeal from the Japanese Government and DFID. These longer-term plans have concentrated on building community resilience, monitoring the agricultural production and yield, nutritional activities, community sensitisation on improving nutrition practices, on water, hygiene and sanitation, the rehabilitation of cereal banks and in disaster risk reduction whilst building the capacities of staff and volunteers.

The implementation of some of the response activities was hindered and or delayed by a number of challenges:

· Late and low funding forced the scaling down of activities, with a gap of over four months between the time the appeal was launched and the implementation of the planned activities.

· other emergencies such as the floods and cholera outbreak burdened staff and volunteers that were otherwise engaged in the food emergency response;

· The conflict affecting the north of Mali since early 2012 has increased insecurity in Niger where the situation remains volatile in rural and all the bordering regions. This has potentially brought operational security risks to delegates, staff and volunteer active outside Niamey region and has posed challenges for the monitoring and evaluation activities.