UN Agency Chiefs To Visit Niger 4 - 7 May

Published on 04 May 2012

ROME/GENEVA– The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), António Guterres, are scheduled to arrive today in the drought-hit country of Niger, West Africa.

The two senior UN officials are to fly to the capital, Niamey and will spend two days visiting projects in Ouallam and Maradi where hunger and malnutrition have reached emergency levels. They will meet some of the tens of thousands of refugees in Mangaize, northern Niger,  who have fled from fighting in neighbouring Mali, putting further strain on communities in Niger that are already facing a food crisis. 

WFP has launched an emergency operation to provide food assistance to nearly 4 million people in Niger, and is working in partnership with UNHCR to support some 160,000 Malian refugees throughout the Sahel region. The High Commissioner and Executive Director aim to sensitize the international community and to mobilize its support for emergency assistance to the people affected by drought and as well as by instability in Mali. They will hold a joint news conference on Monday, 7 May, in Niamey.

High-resolution video and photos of the trip will be available daily. For video, please contact jonathan.dumont@wfp.org +39. 340 224 9140 and marco.frattini@wfp.org and for photo rein.skullerud@wfp.org.  At UNHCR, contact Edith Champagne champagn@unhcr.org +41 79 557 9127 and Stephane Saporito saporito@unhcr.org +41 79 818 8003.

Please contact the UNHCR and WFP public information officers listed below for further information on the itinerary and media opportunities.

Please follow WFP on Twitter:  @wfp_media and @wfp_wafrica and @wfp 
Follow UNHCR’s official channel for media professionals: Twitter: @RefugeesMedia 

For more information please contact:

Malek Triki, WFP/Dakar, Mob. +221 77 6375964
Vigno Hounkanli, PAM/Niamey, Tel. +227 207 22320, Mob. +227 912 05585
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Elizabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Mob. +41 79 473 4570 
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112
 (WFP e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@wfp.org).

Helene Caux, UNHCR Tel: +227 9237 2479   caux@unhcr.org

Melissa Fleming, Chief Spokesperson Tel: +41 79 557 9120  fleming@unhcr.org
Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, Africa Region Press Officer  Tel: +41 79 249 3483  lejeunek@unhcr.org
Adrian Edwards, Head of News  Tel: +41 79 557 9120   edwards@unhcr.org

For additional data and information on the Sahel emergency, visit http://data.unhcr.org/MaliSituation/regional.php and www.unhcr.org.

See also www.unhcr.org and www.wfp.org