Washington, D.C. - As part of ongoing assistance for undernourished people in Niger, the US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), announced today it will charter two jumbo freighter flights to airlift 206 metric tons (MT) of special, high energy food aid from Vatry, France, to Niger's capital of Niamey on Friday, August 5.
USAID will finance the airlifts arriving Friday at a cost of $427,500.
"In our ongoing effort to assist the people of Niger, this latest airlift will immediately help feed tens of thousands of the most at-risk children. Alongside partners like UNICEF, the US government is working to save lives among some of the poorest and most chronically food insecure people in Africa," said USAID Administrator Andrew S. Natsios.
This special, high energy food will be distributed by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) partners for more than 34,000 children enrolled in supplemental feeding programs in affected areas of Niger.
The announcement marks the second time in the Niger crisis that USAID has airlifted special food for UNICEF. On July 18, USAID airlifted 45 MT of UNIMIX from Brussels to Niamey at a cost of $116,000.
The airlifts raise the total amount of US support to battle food insecurity in Niger this year to approximately $13.75 million.
In May, for example, USAID 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 USAID 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).
Additionally, on July 26, USAID announced the delivery of 4,320 MT of emergency food assistance valued at $2.9 million. This food package comprises 2,000 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 USAID.
Some 1,000 MT of this food will arrive from neighboring countries and will be distributed to needy people in Niger in a matter of days. An additional 600 MT is due in the country by the end of the month. The rest is being shipped from ports in the US this week.
In addition to the emergency assistance, USAID has provided 12,230 MT of food assistance in 2005, valued at more than $7.3 million through four American NGOs (Africare, CARE, CRS, and Helen Keller International). Of this amount, 1,250 MT of rice has been sold and the proceeds were used for agricultural production, income generation, and health and nutrition activities in affected communities. In addition, 6,500 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. Remaining commodities will be shipped within weeks for a one-year extension to this 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 U.S. Agency for International Development has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years.
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