What are the needs?
The population of Niger was affected by severe nutrition crises in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012. The consequences in terms of food insecurity and malnutrition have been devastating and are still felt today.
Many Nigerien families are unable to cover their basic food needs. They grow too little food and are too poor to buy it on the markets. They then resort to destructive coping mechanisms such as selling off livestock or cutting down on meals which has an impact on the nutrition status of the smallest. In most of the regions in the country, severe acute malnutrition rates surpass the emergency threshold.
Niger continues to rank last in the UN’s Human Development Index although the country has made significant strides in the fight against child mortality. Lasting improvements will only be possible if the population growth (one of the world's highest), the chronic poverty, the poor access to services and the vulnerability to climate hazards are addressed.
Bordering Libya, Algeria, Nigeria and Mali, the country is very vulnerable to security threats and has endured several targeted attacks. Niger hosts approximately 150 000 refugees and returnees from Mali and Nigeria, which has put additional strain on already overstretched resources. A recent increase in violence due to the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has led to a new influx of refugees and returnees. The government has declared a humanitarian emergency and has called for help to assist the displaced people and the host communities in the east of the country.
How are we helping?
Since the nutrition crisis in 2005, the European Commission has supported its humanitarian partners on the ground to help the people of Niger. In 2015, the European Commission has allocated €47 million to support the humanitarian situation.
In 2014, the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) contributed significantly to the treatment of severely malnourished children and mothers. The Commission’s medical partners have provided treatment for the deadliest diseases, such as malaria, diarrhea and respiratory tract infections. Health and nutrition services are integrated in the countries’ health care system and provided in close collaboration with national health care workers.
The Commission has also funded assistance in the form of cash transfers, vouchers and in-kind food and continues to engage with the aid community, donors and the government in an effort to improve the delivery of emergency food aid, speed up the implementation of a free health care policy and build a solid basis for the creation of social safety nets.
Following an escalation of the violence in north-east Nigeria, the Commission has stepped up its funding to guarantee protection, nutrition care and emergency assistance for refugees and returnees in the remote region of Diffa. Basic humanitarian aid and livelihood support for Malian refugees in Tillabery and Tahoua also remain priorities as the security situation in north.