niger's food crisis
With rains falling short last year leading to failed crops and lean livestock, 14 million Nigeriens face another food crisis. From the outskirts of Niger’s capital, Niamey, to the hard hit south-eastern towns of Dalli and Tanout, there is an all too familiar setting of a growing desperation for food. But this year the international aid community along with a new interim government are hoping to prevent a replay of past crises, most recent in 2005 when former President Mamadou Tandja denied all claims of a famine and refused to disperse tons of food aid waiting in storage. After Mr. Tandja was overthrown from power last February, the new interim government has taken steps to include the international community to aid those most in need. Now local food stock warehouses sit mostly empty after a large distribution occurred in March 2010 to the hardest hit. The rest of the emergency stock will be distributed later this year when aid will be in most need.
According to United Nations Under Secretary of Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, the situation in Niger is not yet catastrophic but the crisis must be dealt with as soon as possible in order to prevent a full-scale famine.