Niger struggles to feed itself at the best of times – these are the worst of times

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Mark Tran in Bambeye

Erratic rainfall and western financial strife mean improved crisis preparations are being stretched to the limit

In the mid-morning sun, Aminatou Gado takes her place in the queue, where she faces a long wait to have her 14-month-old daughter screened for malnutrition. Having already walked three hours to get to the dusty town of Bambeye, she will probably not leave before 5pm. Inside the adobe building dozens of other women, many breastfeeding, sit on the floor amid discarded flip-flops, waiting their turn. The test involves a simple, coloured cardboard strip wrapped around the child's upper arm. If it tightens to the red band, the child is severely malnourished; yellow means moderate; and green means the child is eating enough.

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