United Nations emergency relief coordinator John Holmes heads later this week to West Africa where the combined effects of poverty, food shortages and rapid population growth have put millions of people in a state of chronic vulnerability.
Mr. Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, will first visit Senegal and Niger during the trip starting on 23 April, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.
In Niger, Mr. Holmes will visit the capital Niamey and the town of Zinder in the south. The country is experiencing food shortages as a result of a poor harvest and inadequate rainfall. UN aid agencies and their partners in Niger have appealed for $132 million to assist an estimated 4.7 million people.
The he travels to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 29 April for a six-day visit. Mr. Holmes is slated to tour several regions to highlight the needs of people affected by the humanitarian crisis there and stress the need to ensure that civilians and humanitarian workers are protected against violence.
He will visit the capital, Kinshasa, and the cities of Bukavu, Dungu and Kisangani in the volatile east, as well as Mbandaka and Dongo, two towns in the west where recent outbreaks of violence have left thousands of people in need of humanitarian assistance. The mission will include meetings with Government officials and aid workers.