The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal for 3.7 million Swiss francs/US$4 million to help the Red Cross Society of Niger assist 350,000 people affected by the current food crisis.
An estimated three million people are facing food shortages caused by a combination of failed rains, poor crop yealds and pest attacks. The appeal targets the six most affected regions of Niger: Tillabery, Dosso, Tahoua, Maradi, Zinder and Diffa.
Nathalie Bonvin, IFRC food security delegate in Niger, said the current situation was complex, and has been getting worse for the last few years. “The food crisis will further weaken people who have not yet recovered from the food crisis of 2010, and who have already exhausted all their coping mechanisms,” she said.
Appeal funds will be used to distribute emergency food to cover initial needs, but also seeds and tools as part of a longer-term solution, and to support health centres in the provision of nutritional advice and other services. The Red Cross Society of Niger will also launch a ‘cash for work’ programme to create jobs in affected communities, and will provide finanacial support for those unable to work, but with access to markets.
Yayé Mounkaila, Food Security and Program Coordinator at the Red Cross Society of Niger said families and communities are already running low on staple foods such as cereals. “Poor households have had to use their reserve stocks. At that point they have become more vulnerable and at risk of increased malnutrition.”
Food security is currently affecting a number of countries in the Sahel region of Africa including Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and parts of Senegal. The IFRC is launching appeals related to some of these countries to assist National Societies in their efforts to provide immediate relief and long-term support.