Niger

Qatar urges int''l donors to help relieve food crisis in Niger

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DOHA, June 12 (KUNA) -- The General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) kick-started the International Donors Conference for Consolidating Food Sufficiency in Niger here Tuesday in collaboration with Qatar and the Niger's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In his address to the opening session of the two-day event, Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmad Ben Abdullah Al-Mahmoud said "It is high time to stand by the brothers in Niger and put in force the principle of Islamic solidarity." "Niger's children are starving for food," he said, urging the international community to step in immediately in order to ward off the risks of the widespread food shortage overwhelming the African sub-Saharan country.

For her part, representative of Qatari Red Crescent Society (QRCS) Soad Al-Hamad reviewed the efforts of her society in lending a hand to some seven million people in Niger who suffer from problems in the areas of foodstuffs, heath,, sanitation environment, and potable water.

The QRCS set up food distribution centers which helped 60,000 in poor people survive the famine crisis in 31 villages across Niger, she pointed out.

It also provided healthcare to children including vaccination against malaria and other diseases and trained volunteers in the areas of child and mother care, Soad noted.

Qatar contributed more than USD three million to the establishment of health and water projects in Niger since 2005.

The funds helped construct and rehabilitate 256 water stations, 198 wells and 60 WC in schools as well as 250 public lavatories nationwide.

The Qatari-funded education projects served some 6,000 Niger people.

The QRCS plans for 2007 aim to cover 50 percent of the Niger needs of drinking water and 30 percent of sanitation, she added.

In a later session of the conference Tuesday evening Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmad Ben Abdullah Al-Mahmoud declared commitment of his country to offer USD 2.9 million to Niger's food sufficiency projects.

"The donation is in line with the instructions of Qatari Amir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa to help our bothers in Niger," the minister pointed out.

Qatar's total government and non-government assistances to Niger amounted to 90 million riyals (USD 25 million)," he disclosed. (pickup previous) att.ma.gb

KUNA 122313 Jun 07NNNN

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