Niger drought

Thursday, August 12, 2010

  • ZANTARAM VILLAGE, 5 kms west of Guidal Ider, 27 July 2010Ramot Ali has cooked local weeds to feed her and her family, sprinkled with the grinds of one or two peanuts. They have eaten nothing else for six days.
  • Zantaram, 5kms west of Guidam Ider, July 2010Ramot Ali and her family had eaten only weeds for the last six days. She is not producing enough milk to feed her six-month-old son Yousifer.
  • Guidan Ider village, near Konni, 27 July 2010Basira Gada cradles her three-month-old daughter Bourja, who weighs just 2.5 kilos. Staff at a feeding centre run by Christian Aid partners cook vitamin-enriched formula for babies and mothers.
  • Guidan Ider village, near Konni, 27 July 2010Mariam Aboubabcar brings her underweight child Rabiatou Aboubabcar, 14 months, to be weighed and measured by medics who assess the greatest need in a feeding camp run by Christian Aid partners.
  • Guidan Ider village, near Konni, 27 July 2010A feeding centre. Of the 5,000 children who have arrived with their mothers at five feeding centres only 1,200 can be fed for one month before funds run out.
  • Guidan Ider village, near Konni, 27 July 2010On average it costs 1,500 CFA (approximately £2) per day to feed a child for two meals, and 2,000 (approximately £3) per day for medication
  • Guidan Ider village, near Konni, 27 July 2010A paramedic treats a young mother and child at a feeding centre started in 2004 by Christian Aid partner HEKS in partnership with GADRA
  • ABALA, 30 July 2010A cow, weakened by hunger, is helped back onto its feet. The drought has wiped out many families’ stock
  • ABALA, 30 July 2010Tribal chief Bubacar Maman explains how local stock has been wiped out by drought. People have been reduced to picking weeds for themselves and their animals to eat
  • South of ABALA, 30 July 2010A dead camel. Farmers will do all they can to save their stocks. Camels are treasured above all others

Very poor rains in 2009 and late rains this season have led to severe food insecurity in many areas of Niger. Since last September, food prices have risen by approximately 25 per cent. Other factors affecting families’ ability to feed themselves and their livestock include worsening wind and soil erosion, a three per cent population growth, increasing mortality rates and rising temperatures

Even if more rain now falls, the harvest itself is predicted to yield only 50 per cent of what would be expected in a year of good rainfall.

Christian Aid has launched an appeal to provide immediate help for the ten million people facing the prospect of severe food shortages across the Sahel region of West Africa.

Despite over six months of warnings, the funding for the crisis has been paltry and slow with the UN appeal for Niger still $107m short of its target. Some countries have increased their support, but others have been slower and less generous. ACT member Christian Aid, along with other aid agencies, is calling on rich countries to give generously and immediately fund the crisis in order to prevent a catastrophe, and to engage at the highest political levels to overcome current delays in the delivery of aid.