Niger

Plan to distribute emergency food to children and families affected by the famine in Niger

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International children's agency, Plan is set to start distributing emergency food supplies to children and their families affected by the latest famine to hit Niger. Villages have now been selected in the country's Tillabery region. More than one hundred thousand families, reported to be in an extremely critical and critical state, will benefit.

Plan has identified the neediest areas together with the National Committee set up to combat the famine, which is tracking the crisis. The work forms part of a national effort to keep children and their families from starvation until the annual harvest in October.

Villagers in the Tillabery region have been forced to eat leaves from trees and are eating grains usually reserved only for animals. Down to their last meagre supplies, families have spoken about their desire to see their children fed.

Speaking about the crisis, Plan's Regional Learning Advisor, Fadimata Alainchar said she hoped the distribution of rice supplies would begin as soon as possible.

"We would like to secure 1,410.8 tonnes of rice for distribution; but this has not been easy given the critical shortages presently facing the country," she said. "My desire is to see the food in the hands of the villagers."

Currently some areas of the country are facing a 100 per cent cereal deficit, brought on by a poor rainy season and a massive locust invasion early this year. The food shortage is reported to be growing everyday. Due to the nature of the crisis, authorization has been given to suppliers to import rice from Asia.

For further information on the situation in Niger please contact: Fadimata.alainchar@plan-international.org or ann.birch@plan-international.org Telephone + 227 724 444 Fax + 227 724 491.
For international media enquiries please contact Christina.georgiou@plan-international.org Telephone + 44 1483 755 155 Fax + 44 1483 756 505