Relief flows for Niger food Crisis
Hundreds of thousands of people in Niger are now being assisted with food relief from three of Australia's major relief and development agencies including Caritas Australia.
Caritas, Oxfam and World Vision recently issued a joint call to Australians to donate to Niger, where at least 2.3 million people at serious risk of starvation, including 800,000 children.
The agencies are working throughout West Africa, where countries including Mali and Mauritania, are also facing severe food shortages.
Caritas Australia is working with its partners in Niger to ensure effective food relief distribution. This includes working with the World Food Organisation to distribute rice, beans and oil while in other areas of West Africa millet, beans and oil have also been distributed.
Severely malnourished children are also receiving therapeutic feeding and a plan covering the next eight months of the emergency is currently being developed. This will include the distribution of vegetable seeds and tools, the boring of wells, introduction of livestock feeding and a marketing skills programs for agro-pastoral producers and vitamin A supplement programs for nursing mothers and their babies.
Oxfam has set up a food support program in Niger to help 130,000 families access grain and also to assist 28,000 nomadic families in selling their livestock. In Mali, the agency is providing more than 50,000 people with food vouchers for work and subsidised animal feed to maintain their breeding stock. A range of programs are also being developed in Mauritania with local partner organisations. Oxfam is now looking at longer term sustainability to ensure that communities can re-start or improve their livelihoods.
World Vision is running child nutrition programs for malnourished children under five in the Tillaberi, Zinder and Maradi regions of Niger. Pregnant and breast-feeding women are also being targeted by these programs. In partnership with the World Food Program, World Vision has already distributed 38 metric tons of cereal, 5.7 metric tons of niebe (beans) and 1, 9000 litres of oil to 2,663 beneficiaries from five villages near the Maradi region.
Three agency media release - Relief for Niger food Crisis (Caritas Australia 24/8/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia | Niger Famine Relief
Caritas accepting donations for Niger's starving (CathNews 27/7/05)
Caritas Continues Addressing Needs in Food-Insecure Niger (Caritas Internationalis 24/8/05)
Food starts to trickle into Niger, not enough or always right kind (Agence France-Presse/Catholic Online 3/8/05)
Appeals continue for Niger food crisis (The Universe 3/8/05)
25 Aug 2005