Free food distributions continue in Niger

Large-scale distributions of life-saving food aid continue in Niger, as WFP and its partners endeavour to reach a total of 2.65 million people battling hunger under a first-round general emergency distribution.

Large-scale distributions of life-saving food aid continue in Niger, as WFP and its partners endeavour to reach a total of 2.65 million people battling hunger under a first-round general emergency distribution.

As of 17 August, WFP had dispatched 1,600 metric tons of food aid to its non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners, and distributions were underway by ABC Ecologie and HELP in Tillaberi, World Vision in Maradi and PDR/ADM in Tahoua.

FIRST-ROUND DISTRIBUTION

In total, WFP will dispatch 31,723 metric tons of food for 1.85 million people under the first round of general distributions, while the government of Niger and the NGO Plan International will reach a further 800,000 people.

In September, WFP will conduct a second distribution to the 1.7 million most food insecure people, before the harvest in October.

FAMILY RATION

In this first round, WFP is providing a family ration based on the average nutritional needs of a family of seven people for 30 days. The ration consists of 100kg of cereals, 15kg of pulses and 5kg of vegetable oil.

In the second round a reduced ration will be distributed which consists of 50kg of cereals and 15kg of pulses per family.

EMERGENCY AIRLIFTS

Between 29 July and 6 August, WFP airlifted a total of 102 metric tons of high energy biscuits from WFP’s logistics base in Brindisi, Italy. These biscuits were immediately dispatched to partners for distributions.

WFP also conducted airlifts of 186 metric tons of corn-soya blend from Cote d’Ivoire and 950 metric tons of corn-soya blend from Italy to enable the immediate start of supplementary feeding activities.

TRUCKING IN SUPPLIES

In addition to the ten airlifts of emergency food aid, WFP is trucking in supplies from Burkina Faso and from the ports of Cotonou in Benin and Lome in Togo. Commodities are also coming by rail from Cote d’Ivoire and local purchases are being conducted in Niger.

A total of 18 International Friends of the Red Cross trucks have arrived in Niamey by airlift, and a total of 50 more will arrive by sea by the beginning of September. WFP’s role will be to coordinate optimal usage of the trucks by identifying cargo to be transported and prioritizing shipments and routes.

Around 10 trucks will immediately be put into service in Tahoua for food aid distributions. The use of the trucks in Tahoua will serve as a type of pilot exercise to troubleshoot possible problem areas in management and dispatch of the trucks before the arrival of the full fleet.

INCREASED FOOD AID

In addition to these general distributions, WFP has increased the food aid it supplies through its country programme, including rural development activities (such as food for work, food for training and cereal banks), health and nutritional activities (such as support to therapeutic feeding centres), and school feeding projects, including take-home rations.

To date in 2005, WFP has dispatched a total of 17,000 metric tons of food aid in Niger to feed over 970,000 people.

FUNDING SHORTFALL

WFP’s US$57.6 million emergency operation in Niger is currently only 43 percent funded, having received US$24.8 million in contributions. The shortfall, US$32.8 million, corresponds to 42,990 metric tons of food.

Niger needs your help. To make an online donation, visit http://www.wfp.org/helpnigernow

For all the latest updates on WFP’s emergency operation in Niger, visit http://www.wfp.org/Western_Africa