As crisis looms in drought-stricken Niger, UN food expert makes emergency visit

8 July 2005

With less than a quarter of the $16 million in funds coming in for drought-stricken Niger and nearly 4 million people facing a catastrophic famine, the United Nations expert on the right to food is making a five-day emergency visit to the West African country to raise global awareness of the crisis.

During his mission from 8 to 12 July, Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the right to food, will meet with high-level Government officials, main political opposition parties, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

His team will also travel to Maradi, one of the regions most affected by the current food crisis.

"Catastrophe is imminent," Mr. Ziegler said in a statement last month, warning that the persistent drought and the invasion by many thousands of locusts had destroyed an already fragile agriculture. He noted that only $3.8 million of the $16 million the UN appealed for had so far come in.


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