Washington, D.C. - The United States government will provide nearly $7 million dollars in additional emergency food aid to help feed thousands of people in Niger, a senior U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) official announced here Tuesday.
This latest announcement raises the total amount of U.S. support to battle food insecurity in Niger this year to approximately $13 million.
"The American people are extremely concerned about the drought conditions in Niger, and we hope this assistance will help alleviate the suffering of the people in the affected areas," said Lloyd Pierson, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Africa who arrived in Niger's capital late Monday.
According to Pierson, the new emergency assistance includes 4,320 metric tons (MT) of food from USAID's Food for Peace (FFP) office, valued at $2.9 million. This food package comprises 2000 MT of sorghum, 210 metric tons of lentils, 700 MT of yellow split peas, 600 MT of rice and 810 MT of vegetable oil provided by his agency. Some 1,600 MT of this food will arrive from neighboring countries and will be distributed to needy people in Niger in a matter of days. The rest is being shipped from ports in the United States this week.
The new assistance also includes: $1 million for emergency food and medical services for malnourished children and mothers in the worst affected and least served areas; approximately $2.75 million for an emergency extension of on-going food security activities in the Agadez, Tahoua, Zinder, and Dosso Regions; and $116,000 for a USAID funded airlift of 45 MT of special nutritional ground cereal, from Brussels to Niamey on July 18th.
In May, USAID's OFDA, provided $1.6 million in emergency assistance for nutritional and agricultural relief programs countrywide. The aid included more than $1 million for the American nongovernmental organization (NGO) World Vision to set up community therapeutic feeding centers in the Maradi and Zinder regions. To address ongoing agricultural concerns, the OFDA assistance also included $500,000 for seeds for 24,000 families in the Tillaberi and Zinder Regions through the American NGO Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
In addition to this approximately $7 million of emergency assistance, USAID's FFP office has provided 8,350 MT of food assistance in 2005, valued at more than $4.6 million, through four American NGOs (Africare, CARE, CRS, and Helen Keller International). Of this amount, 1,250 MT of rice was sold and the proceeds were used for agricultural production, income generation, and health and nutrition activities in affected communities. The remaining food (6500 MT of bulgur wheat and 600 MT of vegetable oil) were or are being distributed to food insecure populations under its Food for Work program.
This 2005 development assistance is part of a five-year, over $45 million program operating since 2000 in the areas of Agadez, Tahoua, Zinder and Dosso. The program will be granted an emergency one-year extension in August in response to the current food security crisis.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years.
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