NIAMEY – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of €15.5 million (US$20.5 million) from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) to address both the food security and nutritional condition of the most vulnerable households in Niger.
“This timely contribution has helped WFP to save lives,” said Benoit Thiry, WFP Country Director. “With ECHO’s flexibility and WFP’s advance financing mechanisms, we were able to purchase the food in April, before the hunger season, so that it arrived on time for distributions. If we had purchased the food this month, when the funds were officially due, we would not have received it until October or even later - long after it was urgently needed.”
Many people in Niger rely on programmes such as WFP’s integrated targeted food assistance and blanket supplementary feeding activities to prevent acute malnutrition. The country has had four major food crises since 2000.
To ensure a strong and flexible food and nutrition safety net, WFP provides targeted assistance to improve people’s diet with either food (cereals, pulses and oil) or cash (approximately US$65 per month) to the poorest households.
WFP also provides specialized foods (such as ready-to-eat, highly nutritious peanut paste) whose caloric and micronutrient value help prevent acute malnutrition and mortality. Such assistance has been given to very poor households with children aged from 6-23 months, as well as pregnant or nursing mothers.
During the 2013 hunger season (from June to September), WFP aims to reach a total 900,600 people whose vulnerability leaves them unable to meet their basic food requirements.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
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For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Judith Melby, WFP/Dakar, Tel. +221 33 849 6500, Mob. +221 77 637 5964
Benoit Thiry, WFP/Niamey, Tel. +227 20 72 27 26, Mob. +227 90 00 14 34