A Save the Children aid plane will leave Ostend in Belgium on Wednesday, bound for Niger. The flight, funded by the UK Department for International Development, will be carrying 41 tonnes of essential supplies - enough food and equipment to support one month of therapeutic feeding for severely malnourished children and those recovering from malnutrition.
A lethal combination of drought and locusts last year decimated the harvest in Niger and has left the country with an estimated 223,000 tonne shortfall of grain to meet the food needs of the local population. Infant mortality and malnutrition rates have increased sharply as a result.
"The clock is ticking for these children. The support of the British Government and British public means we can get this much needed specialist food out to Niger to prevent more vulnerable children falling victim to malnutrition", said Toby Porter, Director of Emergencies, Save the Children UK.
Save the Children teams, including nutritionists and logistics staff, are working to provide nutritional assistance to children under five years old in the Maradi region which is facing acute food shortages. Initial estimates of 15,000 moderately and severely malnourished children in the region have been revised upwards to 40,000.
What will be on the plane?
- Emergency Health Kits plus stethoscopes, tubes & syringes for the feeding centres
- Weighing Scales & Height Boards to weigh and measure children to establish their nutritional status
- Supplementary Feeding Kits Each kit designed for 250 children - includes feeding and cooking equipment
- 16 M.Tonnes of Plumpy Nut (a peanut paste) ready to eat food for rapid re-nutrition and/or supplementary feeding for moderately malnourished children
- 20 M.Tonnes of BP-5 ex Compact Foods, ready to eat directly as biscuits or to prepare as porridge for children below 2 year
- Multi-Purpose High Spec Tents For the feeding centres
- Therapeutic Milk Dietetic treatment for severely malnourished children