As 2.5 million people in Niger struggle to survive in the face of acute food shortages the UK’s best known charities are joining forces to appeal to the public for help. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Niger Crisis Appeal has opened for donations.
Hunger is perennially a problem in Niger. But a locust invasion last year followed by drought have made the problem worse. Almost a third of Niger's population of 11.3 million is in crisis, with it's children the most vulnerable. Some 800,000 children under 5 are suffering from hunger, including 150,000 faced with severe malnutrition.
According to the Red Cross, the potentially fatal combination of drought and a locust plague has left almost 8 million people at risk of hunger in Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso – one of the most neglected and poorest regions in the world. Money raised by the Appeal will enable agencies to deliver aid where it is needed most in the region.
“We need the public to donate whatever they can today to help us save lives. DEC members are working together to get urgent supplies of food to those who need it most urgently in Niger and are also scaling up their efforts in the other countries of the Sahel region in West Africa, which are also badly affected. Every second counts,” said DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley said:
What donations can buy
Niger has been ruined by decades of chronic poverty. Before this current crisis, 40 per cent of children were malnourished and Niger had the second highest global mortality rate amongst children under 5. Acute food shortages are making a dire situation unbearable as millions struggle to deal with the effects of the persistent lack of food, safe water and basic healthcare.
Thirteen of the UK's major aid agencies, including Action Aid, the British Red Cross, World Vision, Oxfam and Save the Children who come together in the DEC to respond to major disasters overseas, hope the public will respond to their appeal. Donations to the DEC Appeal will fund member agencies’ relief programmes, including the purchase and distribution of food, animal fodder, seeds and medicines.
Donations to the DEC Niger Crisis Appeal can be made at: www.dec.org.uk, or by phoning the Disasters Emergency Committee on 0870 60 60 900 and donations can be made by going into any high street post office or bank.
Remember, your donation is worth more if you use Gift Aid which gives tax relief on donations. Under Gift Aid, the charity you choose receives 28p from the taxman for every £1 you donate - at no extra cost to you. Find out how Gift Aid works