Niger

The Niger Crisis: WFP Update 4 Aug 2005

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News and Press Release
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Posted
Originally published
WFP Operational Update

- WFP is currently in the process of airlifting from Abidjan to Niamey 186 metric tons of corn soya blend (CSB - a highly nutritious fortified blend, mainly intended for young children and pregnant and lactating mothers).

- The first plane arrived on 1 August with 46.5 tons and the operation is expected to finish today (4 August).

- WFP has also airlifted at total of 68 tons of high energy biscuits (HEB) to Niger. Another flight with an additional 33 tons of HEB is expected on 6 August.

- Distributions of the high energy biscuits have already taken place in several villages within a few hours' drive of the capital, Niamey.

- During the week of 26 July - 1 August, 2,550 tons of food were dispatched to partners.

- WFP continues to work closely with the Government and NGO partners on the distribution plan. The Government, through its National Early Warning system has revised the numbers of people in need of urgent food aid, by placing an additional 149,109 persons in the level five. This brings the total number of people in need of food aid to 2,649,109.

- WFP is planning two rounds of distributions of general emergency distributions. WFP is coordinating distributions with the Government and the NGO Plan so that all 2.65 million people will be reached through the first round of distributions in August. WFP will reach 1.85 million people, the Government 700,000 and PLAN will reach the remaining 100,000 beneficiaries. In this first round, WFP will provide a family ration, based on the average nutritional needs of a family of 7 people, consists of 100 kg of cereals, 15 kg of pulses and 5 kg of vegetable oil.

- In the second round, WFP will target the 1.7 million beneficiaries in levels 1 and 2- those areas considered "extremely critical" and "critical". This second round will be a reduced ration consisting of 50 kg of cereals and 15 kg of pulses.

LARGER EMERGENCY OPERATION

In response to the deteriorating situation, WFP has extended its emergency operation in the country to reach 2.5 million beneficiaries at a cost of US$57.6 million.

WFP is now providing general food rations to all people in the five affected zones in August and September, based on the government's assessment. Previously, WFP had been delivering assistance through feeding centres for malnourished children.

In addition to these general distributions, some 480,000 children under five and pregnant and lactating women will receive a supplementary food ration.

As a further safety net, a contingency ration for 30 percent of the targeted population will also be provided for a period of three months after the harvest, subject to findings of the planned Crop and Food Supply Assessment mission and supporting VAM surveys.

FUNDING

The operation is 36 percent funded, having received US$ 20.6 million in contributions. The current shortfall is US$ 37 million and a further 58,939 tons are needed.

The urgent provision of food is crucial; if assistance is not provided quickly, WFP expects to see a massive liquidation of property and livestock with a severe impact on the current agricultural season and thus the long-term well-being of the population, with loss of life among the most vulnerable groups.

A recent outpouring of donor support has enabled purchases of various commodities in the region; some are now being discharged and/or are in transit to Niger. In an effort to move food fast, WFP has conducted several loans/borrowings from other WFP programmes in the region. The agency is in the process of rerouting vessels to discharge commodities, and has made a fourth allocation of US$10 million from emergency funding to buy cereals which are now available in the Port of Lome.

Despite these efforts, shortages of almost all commodities are expected in the next five months. To avert such shortfalls during August, WFP is speeding up the discharge and delivery of Niger-bound WFP commodities in and/or approaching ports in the region. Additional donor support will avoid these immediate and future shortfalls.

LOGISTICS ETC

Five mobile warehouses and three generators have been airlifted from WFP's logistics base in Brindisi, Italy. The generators are for the sub-offices in Zinder, Tahoua as well as for Maradi, where a sub-office is being opened. (A fourth office for the Tillaberi region will be based in the Niamey country office.)

Staffing for WFP Niger has been greatly reinforced with 44 international posts planned. Of these, 21 staff are currently in place and nine are arriving in the coming days; recruitment is in progress for the 14 vacant posts. Local hire is continuing of logistics, programme, administrative and ICT assistants, as well as food aid monitors and drivers.

Information and communication technology capacity in the country office and sub-offices is being improved with satellite bandwidth of the VSAT upgraded to cater for increased demand in data and voice connectivity. A radio communication system has been established and solar power systems installed.

Niger needs your help. To make an online donation, visit http://www.wfp.org/helpnigernow

For all the latest updates on WFP's emergency operation in Niger, visit http://www.wfp.org/newsroom

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Caroline Hurford, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132330, Mob +39-348 132 5018

Stefanie Savariaud, WFP/Niger, Tel. +227 722320. Mob +227 403947

Simon Pluess, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Mob. +41-797743821

Jennifer Parmelee, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010, Mob. +1-2024223383

Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44-20-72409001, Mob +44-7968-008474

For videos, please contact: Jonathan Dumont, WFP Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3152/2899, Mob. +39 340-2249140