MONTREAL, July 6 /CNW Telbec/ - In response to a growing food crisis in the West African nation of Niger, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is providing support to an emergency relief program in the country that aims to improve the food security of the most vulnerable.
Niger is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world and it is estimated that close to 8 million people, which is 60 percent of the population, are at risk of not having enough food until the next harvest in October.
This vast country, which stretches across part of the Sahara desert and the dry, arid region of the Sahel, has experienced insufficient rainfall over the last few years with devastating consequences. Poor crops, rising food prices, dying cattle and decimated grain stocks are all contributing to malnutrition, hunger and displacement amongst the population. Children under five are particularly affected by this deteriorating situation, which some fear could become worse than the 2005 food crisis in Niger.
As part of Caritas Internationalis, one of the largest humanitarian aid networks worldwide, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE and its Caritas partners are responding to this emerging crisis with a $3.7 million program that aims to help close to 250,000 people. The program will include activities such as screening children and pregnant woman for malnutrition and providing treatment, distributing food and seeds, and organizing cash-for-work programs to increase household incomes.
"If urgent action isn't taken, the situation could definitely spiral into a far more critical crisis with a rising death toll. At this very moment, many households barely have enough food supplies to last more than 10 days," says Barbara Trachsel, Emergency Programs Officer at DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE.
The organization has contributed $100,000 to the program and hopes to give more through donations from the public. Donations can be made by phone (1 888 664-3387), on the website www.devp.org or by sending a cheque made out to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE (please indicate Niger Emergency) to the following address:
Development and Peace
1425 René-Lévesque Blvd. W, 3rd Floor
Montreal QC H3G 1T7
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