Niger: More than 130,000 people supported by the Red Cross in one month
Take Issoufou Agaly, a displaced person from Téra, Tillabéri Region. He is one of the 7,700 people who received food aid from the ICRC on 18 July. “Because of the food crisis, we often go without three daily meals. This food distribution has come at just the right time. I know people who are going to bed hungry every night.”
Our teams on the ground have spoken to other people in south-eastern Niger – the area hardest-hit by the conflicts and violence – who are worried the situation will soon get worse. “We’re afraid. We’re already suffering from the lack of security, and basic foodstuffs are becoming even harder to afford. The price of everything is shooting up: rice, millet, maize … A kilo of imported rice that used to cost 350 CFA francs is now selling for 500 on the market,” says Alzouma Nouhou, a farmer from Anzourou. “I’m especially worried because at this point in the year the crops are not yet ready to harvest and our granaries are empty. The current situation could make things even worse.”
Since the start of July, teams from the Niger Red Cross and the ICRC have been providing assistance to the communities most affected by the fighting in the regions of Diffa, Tillabéri and North Tahoua.
- More than 2,700 displaced people, mainly women and children, received essential household items, including clothes, buckets, tarpaulins, mosquito nets, soap and cooking utensils.
- Almost 60,000 people received emergency food aid.
- Over 8,150 households (57,000 people) each received 92,500 CFA francs to buy food from local producers brought together at a temporary market by the ICRC. This market will also help to stimulate the local economy.
- More than 2,500 farmers (350 households) received rainfed seed to plant and grow their own food.
- 60 tonnes of wheat were transported to three livestock food banks in Tahoua Region. The wheat will be sold at an affordable price to help 8,400 livestock farmers and agro-pastoralists (1,200 households) in areas where there is a lack of fodder.
Abdallah Togola, an ICRC economic security coordinator in Niger, is also worried by the soaring prices that are making it even harder for vulnerable families to have enough food. “Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen a significant rise in the cost of essential household items, as much as 60 per cent on some essentials, such as oil. And prices are continuing to fluctuate.”
In addition to economic sanctions, the suspension of development aid to Niger has been announced by several countries, raising the risk of even greater hardships for many people. “On the cereal markets, demand will soon outstrip supply as farming stocks run out, particularly in areas affected by conflict or insecurity. Demand for food and food aid in areas hosting displaced people, refugees and returnees will rise sharply,” says Ronald Ofteringer, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Niger.
Present in Niger since 2007, the ICRC estimates that the number of people who will need humanitarian assistance will rise in the coming months. The organization reaffirms its commitment to providing assistance and protection to people affected by the armed conflicts and other violence, in partnership with the Red Cross Society of Niger and other members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement present in Niger. The ICRC also reiterates its commitment to its Fundamental Principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality.