Reference : V-P-NE-E-00036
Date : 10/03/2012
Country/Region : NIGER
Caption : Tillabéry region, Abala department, Kabéfo. Beneficiaries are gathered on a food distribution site before the beginning of the operation.
Photographer : ABDOURAHAMANE, Moussa
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : ICRC website, Operational Update No 12/01

Niger: coping with the food crisis

Niger is experiencing a food crisis, like other countries of the Sahel, and must cope with an influx of refugees and of its own nationals fleeing conflict in northern Mali. The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Niger are bringing aid to the neediest.

"In the area around Tillabéry, where we are focusing our efforts, people had not yet recovered from the crisis of 2009-2010 when they had to accommodate tens of thousands of Malian refugees and Niger returnees within just a few weeks at the beginning of this year," said Jürg Eglin, who heads the ICRC's regional delegation for Niger and Mali. "Given the scale of their needs, they now have to rely on emergency food aid. They also need financial support, livestock feed, and support to prepare for the growing and grazing season."

Food to survive and seed to maintain hope

Owing to crop failures during the 2010-2011 growing season, Tillabéry is among the areas in the Sahel hardest hit by food insecurity. The influx of people caused by the conflict in Mali has only made the situation worse. Large numbers of people have exhausted their food stocks and are no longer able to feed themselves properly. And those who are poorest, because their purchasing power is so low, can no longer buy what they need from the market.

"Many families are resorting to desperate measures," said Jules Amoti, who coordinates economic security programmes for the ICRC in Niger and Mali. "Some are reducing the number of their daily meals, others are selling their animals for next to nothing, while still others are choosing to flee to places less affected by the crisis."

On 7 May, the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Niger completed a distribution of food for over 110,000 people. Each household (six people on average) in 75 villages of the Ouallam, Banibangou and Abala departments in the Tillabéry area was given 200 kilograms of millet – enough to cover their grain needs for four months. In addition, 20 grain banks were topped up to make an additional supply available if needed. Between January and March, the ICRC had already distributed food to approximately the same number of people and agricultural seed to 60,000 people (each household was given 20 kilograms of improved millet seed and five kilos of cowpea seed).

In the Agadez area of northern Niger, where most people rely on livestock for their living, the ICRC is striving to improve people's access to grain. One hundred grain banks have been supplied with 1,000 tonnes of millet which will be made available to local people at prices they can afford.

Original material : digital
Resolution : 4000x3000
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour