Niger: UN expert says nearly 4 million people face catastrophic famine

23 June 2005

With less than a quarter of the $16 million in requested emergency funds coming in for drought-stricken Niger, one-third of the population, or nearly 4 million people, face a catastrophic famine, according to the United Nations expert on the right to food Jean Ziegler.

The persistent drought and the invasion by many thousands of locusts have destroyed an already fragile agriculture and despite the measures taken by the Government in Niamey, "catastrophe is imminent," he said in a statement issued yesterday.

He noted that the UN had appealed for $16 million for Niger but only $3.8 million had come in so far.

Mr. Ziegler said Niger had a rapid response mechanism in place to help the population but needed funds to replenish it.


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