Over 2 Million People in Niger Face Humanitarian Crisis, UN Agency Says | Voice of America
GENEVA – The United Nations Children’s Fund urges the international community to pay more attention to Niger, where more than 2 million people suffer from malnutrition and live in dire conditions.
More than 3.8 million people in Niger, more than half of them children, face a humanitarian crisis due to a combination of natural and man-made disasters.
Landlocked Niger faces attacks from militant Islamists and other armed groups along its borders with Nigeria to the south, Burkina Faso to the south-east, Mali to the west and the region of Lake Chad to the east. This has caused significant displacement in the country and wreaked havoc on hundreds of thousands of children.
In addition to conflict, the United Nations Children’s Fund reports that Niger faces food shortages, malnutrition, recurrent epidemics, climate-related disasters such as floods and drought, and climate change. socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNICEF representative in the Niger national office, Aboubacry Tall, said malnutrition remained a major threat to children’s health and development. Speaking on a video link from the capital, Niamey, he said the rate of severe acute malnutrition remains extremely high. He said 2.2 million people were in need of nutritional assistance, of which 1.6 million were children under the age of 5.
In addition, he said, there are “about half a million – exactly 450,000 – who suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are therefore almost doomed to a life of underperformance if they survive.”
Hundreds of schools closed
UNICEF reports that more than 370 schools have been forced to close in recent months due to insecurity in conflict-affected areas. He says attacks on schools and threats against education destroy the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children.
Tall said UNICEF was working across the country to help people affected by emergencies and conflict. He noted that most of the displaced people live in host communities and share everything with them: shelter, land, food.
He said the displaced people do not fully rely on humanitarian aid to survive.
“People grow food. People do small businesses on the side, buying and selling goods, for example,” he said. “There is a lot of economic activity, which some humanitarian programs also support through cash transfers to support food production. “
Tall said UNICEF was working with government and humanitarian partners to respond to acute emergencies, such as population movements, and to mitigate risks. He said the agency needed more than $ 100 million to provide life-saving humanitarian aid to children across the country this year.