Friday, 20 August 2010
A malnourished child and mother in Diffa, Niger
This picture has been taken by Shawn Baker in Diffa.
Shawn Baker is the regional director for Africa of Helen Keller International.
Hundreds of thousands of children in Niger are facing death from acute malnutrition highlights how little the global community has lived up to its promises to reduce by half the prevalence of malnutrition by 2015.
In Niger, the new government that took power in a military coup in February of this year is openly using the formerly taboo word “famine” and embracing international assistance.
Niger can be seen as a never-ending problem but let’s help the government of Niger meet both the immediate needs of this crisis and more importantly, put into place some long-term solutions to squelch acute malnutrition, once and for all.
How to help: Many agencies are working to address the immediate needs of this crisis and the longer-term solutions to malnutrition and food insecurity in Niger.
Donations to Helen Keller International or Action Against Hunger or Islamic Relief or CRS or Qatari Red Crescent or French Red Cross will be directed to Niger’s neediest populations.
Although Niger is a country that ‘works’ on many levels, including the daily courage and stamina of its 12.9 million people, whose life expectancy is just 46 years, levels of infant mortality are high even in good years, with 3 out of 10 children dying before they reach the age of 5 from poverty, malnutrition and disease.
The media are calling Niger’s crisis a ‘famine’ or ‘starvation’. MSF (Doctors without Borders) is calling it a ‘severe nutritional crisis’. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) calls it a ‘complex emergency’.