Huge influx from Mali fighting worsens hunger in Niger
Plan International has said ‘’aid efforts to fight hunger in Niger ‘’is being complicated’’ by the large influx of refugees fleeing fighting in northern Mali, with cases of malnutrition already appearing in the western region of Tillaberi hosting over 20,000 refugees.
In a press statement, the relief agency said this is a region ‘’where many inhabitants are already facing severe food insecurity and malnutrition.’’
Since mid-Janurary, fighting has been going on in northern Mali, as a rebel group calling itself the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) battle with Malian government forces causing thousands of people to flee the country.
In a press statement, Plan said this is a region ‘’where many inhabitants are already facing severe food insecurity and malnutrition.’’
According to Dr. D. Saley, head of the region’s therapeutic feeding center, the peak of malnutrition rates expected as early as April this year, because many families have no more than a month’s supply of food to last them until the next rainy season
The relief agency said 1,216 cases of moderate acute malnutrition have been recorded in 26 villages of Tilaberi in January.
Over 1,000 people from 162 families who arrived kast week Plan said ‘’are living in very difficult circumstances in the northern part of Tillaberi.’’
While there’s serious food crisis water is also in short supply in the area. In an interview with WADR’s Frank Sainworla on Monday, the Programme Director of Plan Niger, Sidi Assalama said ‘’water is a very serious issue.’’
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To add insult to injury, the aid agency said the ‘’already reduced supply of food now has to be stretched even further’’ in Niger, with the return of 200,000 migrant workers from Libya and the Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, Plan along with other relief agencies has stressed the need to focus on long-term support for the Sahel region as well as emergency food aid,
“Building up the resilience of the region to future droughts and thereby gradually reducing the need for outside assistance, is critical,’’ Plan added.
The UN Humanitarian Affairs office has said the severe food shortages in the Sahel are said to be largely due to drought, poverty and staple food price hike.