UN gets no response to appeal for aid as famine stalks drought-stricken Niger

2 June 2005

An emergency United Nations appeal for $16 million to feed millions of people caught in a looming, “silent crisis” and restore farming in Niger has received no response, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

An emergency United Nations appeal for $16 million to feed millions of people caught in a looming, “silent crisis” and restore farming in Niger has received no response, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

“To date, not a single dollar has been pledged to the Flash Appeal,” OCHA said of the appeal to help some 3.6 million people – including 800,000 children under the age of five – in the drought-stricken landlocked country.

Among the priorities identified under the humanitarian response plan for the arid West African country were treating malnourished children under 5 and pregnant women, increasing food availability, supporting existing health services, ensuring livestock survival, increasing seed availability and reducing migration flows, it said.

The Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requested just over $8 million for the agricultural sector, $6.75 million for the food sector, $1.35 million for the health sector, and just $50,000 for coordination and support services, OCHA said.

The food crisis was compounded by the worst locust invasion in 15 years, which wiped out a portion of the harvest last year.

A least developed, low-income, food-deficit country, Niger ranked 176th out of 177 countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2004 Human Development Index.

The Government developed a mechanism to prevent or lessen the impact of food crises, to which France, the European Union (EU) and Italy have contributed regularly, but the food stocks and funds managed by that mechanism for this year have been fully mobilized to meet about half the needs of the crisis, and will soon be depleted, OCHA said.

 

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