Scarce rains, a poor harvest and locust infestations in 2004 have led to acute malnutrition for approximately 3.5 million persons in vast parts of Niger. Warnings have been issued that some 800,000 children aged five and under are suffering from hunger.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is providing $10,000 from One Great Hour of Sharing and designated funds to help the people of Niger. PDA is responding as a member of Action by Churches Together International (ACT) to support long-term ACT members Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS) and Lutheran World Relief (LWR), who have been working in Niger for many years and have the means to formulate an effective response.
The response involves fifty-five villages and settlements (approximately 50,000 people) in the regions of Tchintabaraden, Abalak, Tahoua (province of Tahoua) and Bermo (province of Maradi) that have been identified as the most vulnerable.
Relief will be implemented through partner organizations which have remained in the village and will include:
Staple foods -- provision of staple foods (millet) and milk powder for the population:
- purchase of 600 tons millet, 10 percent of this for seed
- purchase of 50 tons milk powder (mainly for children, particularly the weak and sick but also the elderly)
Cattle fodder -- sufficient supply for the needs
- purchase of 475 tons animal fodder
- purchase of 4520 salt blocks (The salt blocks are available locally. They provide the weak animals with precious minerals which are normally found in fresh grasses and certain saline water reservoirs)
Efficient Distribution -- establishment of appropriate mechanisms to ensure efficient distribution of relief aid and management of the cereal banks and banks for cattle. This will also include a food-for-work program.
The emergency relief aid will be effective immediately and will be completed by the end of September 2005. The provision of food assistance and animal fodder is conceived as a minimal stop-gap until the next harvest.