UN emergency fund allocates more resources to hunger-stricken population in Niger

15:19, August 17, 2010      

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The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated an additional 15 million U.S. dollars to enable the UN food agency to provide relief to an estimated 1.7 million people, UN officials said on Monday.

The UN move was taken in a bid to alleviate alarming food shortages that have caused high malnutrition rates among children in Niger, the officials said.

The CERF allocation made available to the UN World Food Program (WFP) last week will be used to improve nutrition and provide livelihood support to people most affected by the crisis, said the officials.

Poor harvests that followed inadequate rainfall in Niger over the past year have spawned a major food crisis in the West African country. An assessment carried out in April indicated that over 7 million people, or about 46 percent of Niger's population, are suffering from moderate or severe food insecurity.

The survey revealed a significant increase in the number of people experiencing severe food shortages, with the figure rising from 2.6 million in December last year to 3.3 million people in April. It also showed high levels of vulnerability in urban areas, particularly among new migrants, as well as a higher rate of severe food insecurity among women.

The results of a nutrition survey in June showed that global acute malnutrition prevalence exceeded the 15-percent emergency threshold, with 16.7 percent of young children affected. Severe acute malnutrition rose from 2.1 percent last year to 3.2 percent this year.

The latest allocation brings the total amount of money disbursed by the fund, which is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to Niger this year to 35 million dollars.

Source: Xinhua


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