The 2011 harvest was disastrous for Mintou and her family in Dosso region, Niger. Her four sons have left the village to find work, so they can send money home. But, with seven months until the next harvest, Mintou has run out of food to feed her five grandchildren. Credits: Nick Harrop/CAFOD

The 2011 harvest was disastrous for Mintou and her family in Dosso region, Niger. Her four sons have left the village to find work, so they can send money home. But, with seven months until the next harvest, Mintou has run out of food to feed her five grandchildren.
Credits: Nick Harrop/CAFOD

A third of the population of Niger is threatened by hunger as the food crisis in West Africa’s Sahel region grows.

Caritas is launching its third appeal for the region, following similar interventions in Mali and Burkina Faso.

Caritas is concerned because the population have not recovered from acute food shortages in 2010, leaving them even more vulnerable this time.

“Niger and the Sahel face an alarming food emergency that is getting worse day-by-day,” said Raymond Yoro, the executive secretary of CADEV-Caritas Niger.

“The people are still suffering from the 2010 crisis. They do not have the resources to face yet another bad harvest. We need immediate assistance if we are to survive the months ahead,” he said.

Families in Niger are already turning to survival strategies such as rationing food still available.

At least 16 million people in Niger are threatened with food shortages. Half of the populations of urban centres cannot get enough food because of high prices.

The situation in the north has been made worse by an influx of refugees from the conflict in Mali. Northern Niger is one of the worst affected parts of the country and must now host thousands of refugees.

Caritas is appealing for €3.8 million ($5 million) to help 400,000 people over the coming months in Niger.

Caritas will provide free food to families with children, subsidised food to other families at fair market prices and seeds and help recovering lost farming land. Caritas will also look to long-term solutions to help strengthen community-response to drought.

For more information, please call Ryan Worms on 0039 335.823 or 0039 06.698.797 557 or send an email to worms@caritas.va.