Niger Food Crisis 2005 - Situation Report no. 6


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan ended on 24 August a two-day visit to Niger aimed at taking stock of the humanitarian assistance in Niger to feed millions of thousands in need of food aid. UNSG Annan highlighted the importance of providing aid immediately to the vulnerable, and at the same time identifying medium and long term solutions against food crises.

On the eve of Annan's visit, Medecins Sans Frontières said in a statement that food distributions were not reaching those most in need, and suggested that a review of the distribution mechanism so that "forgotten" villages are taken into account.

As of 31 August, 2.7 million people were in need of food aid.

WFP started a humanitarian air service.


1.1 Social and political overview

The political situation remains calm. The food crisis continues to be well reported in the national media.

1.2 Environmental overview

The Ministry of Agricultural Development reported the presence of individual locusts and caterpillars in the areas Zinder (east), Dosso (South-eastern of Niamey) and Tillabéry (North-eastern of Niamey). Grasshoppers also have been reported in the departments of Diffa, Mayahi, and Tanout, and the presence of plant-eating birds in the farming areas. In its 20 August information bulletin, the Ministry reports that land and aerial surveillance will continue, particularly in areas where conditions are favorable to the development of locusts.

Abundant rains continued in the farm areas located in the south during the reporting period. In the area of Tillabery, 26 out of 30 rain stations recorded rain surpluses, in comparison to the same period in 2004. The regions of Dosso, Maradi and Tahoua also recorded high quantities of rain.


2.1 Food security / Nutrition

As of 31 August, 2.7 million people were in need of food aid. Nearly 900.00 were in an "extremely critical" situation, and 90.000 in difficult situation. The remaining population is in a situation that requires close monitoring. WFP and the UNICEF, in collaboration with NGOs, continue their first round of general food distributions which, as of August 28, distributed 10,240 tons of food to close 600.000 people. The first round started on 8 August for a target population of 1.89 million people. The second is expected to start mid-September and would target of 1.7 million. Following the concerns raised by Medecins Sans Frontieres that some vulnerable population were left out of the distribution plans, UN agencies have begun discussions on improving the existing mechanism and ensuring that food reaches those who are in need.

307 therapeutic feeding centers (TFC) are currently operational in the country. According to partners active in the sector, the figure could double to reach 760 by the end of the year, and that the number of children admitted could reach 200,000. More than 54,000 children were admitted in TFCs between the 1 July and on 31 August.

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