Niger's drought threatens one million: WFP

28th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Around a million people in Niger will need urgent food aid next year if the country's drought persists, the World Food Programme warned Friday.

"In Niger, the WFP is planning to scale up its food aid operations urgently, specifically for children and pregnant women, after the government declared that at least 750,000 people have been identified to be suffering from serious food insecurity," said Gaelle Sevenier, spokeswoman for the UN agency.

"According to the WFP, this figure risks rising to more than one million in 2012," she added.

Sevenier said that in Niger, "irregular rain and insect attacks have led to a poor harvest, with almost no cereals harvested, mainly in the centre and west" of the country.

On Thursday, the government said the country had harvested 500,000 tonnes less cereal than required.

"Niger seems to be heading towards a serious crisis if immediate measures were not taken," said Sevenier, noting that the country had experienced serious food shortages in 2009 and 2010.

WFP said it needed an additional $60 million (42 million euros) to provide food aid to the country's most vulnerable people for the next six months.

© 2011 AFP

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