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PHOTO: “A child suffering from severe malnutrition is treated at the Médecins Sans Frontieres centre in Maradi, Niger.” (The Guardian).

“”We are having now an acute humanitarian crisis in Niger in which children are dying as we speak, We could have prevented this and the world community didn’t.” — U.N. Humanitarian Chief Jan Egeland.

French blogger Valerie has been writing to me, asking me to publicize this. Last week, I wrote about her and the U.N.’s efforts to alleviate this horrific crisis which, by the way, extends through several more African countries this summer due to drought and locusts. Valerie recommends contributions to Medecins San Frontieres.

“The UN first appealed for assistance for Niger in November and got almost no response.”


From The Guardian article today:

Western countries were today accused of failing to deliver on aid promises as famine in Niger put the lives of 2.5 million people, including 800,000 children, at risk.

Food supplies, already low after a drought and locust plague swept through the west African country last year, had reached critical level, aid agencies said. The world’s second least developed country was suffering “an acute humanitarian crisis”, the United Nations said.

Amid a surge in the number of children dying from malnutrition and people arriving at food centres, aid organisations warned there was a gulf between the pledges of political leaders and the amount of support arriving on the ground.

“We have been trying to raise the profile of a developing crisis in west Africa since last October,” said Oxfam’s regional humanitarian co-ordinator, Nick Ireland. “It’s been clear since then that there would be a food shortage this summer but it has been painfully slow.

We have been hearing promises from the G8 leaders at Gleneagles about making the fight against poverty more important and at the same time there is a famine across the Sahel. People are very slow to respond.”

Mr Ireland said some aid was starting to arrive and Oxfam had had teams in the worst-hit areas since the end of June.

“In all frankness, the money should have been there four or five months ago to give aid agencies the chance to do this properly. We are really at the 11th hour.”

The UN first appealed for assistance for Niger in November and got almost no response. Another appeal for $16m (£9.2m) in March got about $1m. The latest appeal on May 25 for $30m has received about $10m but “it’s still too little”, the UN humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, said. …


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