With the beginning of the rainy season, a new threat has appeared: on 20 June, the government of Niger appealed for international support to fight the early stages of an invasion of desert locusts in northern Niger. If not treated immediately, this plague will put the forthcoming harvest season (September-November) at high risk. The locusts are coming from outbreak areas along both sides of the Algeria/Libya border where infestations were triggered by desert rainfalls, and control operations were hampered by armed conflicts and insecurity.
Cholera cases are increasing, with 2,023 cases notified as of 24 June 20121. Most cases are located along the River Niger, in the departments of Tillabéri, Tera and Kollo. On 20 June 2012, a joint mission (Minister of Public Health, UNICEF, WHO, NGOs) visited the affected areas to investigate the factors likely to maintain and spread the epidemic and to support the implementation of response activities in the region.
As of 27 June 2012, UNHCR has registered a total of 44,879 refugees2 housed in camps and sites in the western regions of the country. In Tahoua region, UNHCR and IOM relocated 2,831 refugees to Tabareybarey camp (Ayorou), out of 7,879 living on the spontaneous sites of Gaoudel, Tinfagat, Tidirigalene, Mbeidou, Ntadadab. UNICEF and other partners are continuing to provide assistance to those who are still on these sites.
On 1 June 2012, in Agadez, 333 families displaced by the food crisis received government and partners’ assistance to return to their villages of origin in Maradi and Zinder regions, in view of the planting season. They received cash and food assistance from WFP and NGOs and non-food items from UNICEF.
For the last 2 months, food prices have been quite stable although higher than in previous years. For instance, sorghum and millet prices are 25 to 33 percent higher than in the same period last year3.
As of 10 June 2012, 130,596 under-5 children affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and 195,999 affected by Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM)4 have been admitted and treated in over 2,000 feeding centres across the country. Despite the fact that, since April, each day an average of 1,000 new cases of SAM are being admitted for treatment, the system is coping with the increased workload, which, overall, remains below the levels recorded during the 2010 crisis. This is likely due to the massive treatment of MAM cases, averaging over 10,000 per week, as well as to the early response measures to contain food insecurity and malnutrition, put in place since November 2011. At present, the 3rd phase of the government response plan is in full motion. It includes blanket supplementary feeding for under-2 children, targeted general food distributions, unconditional cash transfer programmes, subsidized sales of cereals, and distribution of seeds.