USAID enables WFP to provide critical support to Niger's crisis- affected communities
NIAMEY – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a much-needed boost in its efforts to provide vital food and nutrition assistance to crisis-affected populations in Niger. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has donated an additional US$15 million to aid WFP's mission.
This contribution is especially critical now, as WFP struggles to respond to the heightened food and nutrition needs of crisis-affected people during the lean season stretching from June to August. In 2023, WFP plans to reach 3.6 million people in Niger with food and nutrition assistance. But funding constraints have forced the UN agency to cut back on food rations, length of assistance, and number of beneficiaries.
With this specific funding, WFP will reach 166,337 internally displaced people and host populations with in-kind and cash assistance for six months across crisis-affected regions of Niger, including Diffa, Maradi, Tahoua, and Tillabéri. In addition, USAID’s contribution will help provide specialized nutritional support to 13,300 children under five years of age.
’With acute food insecurity reaching unprecedented levels in Niger, international solidarity is more than ever needed to save lives, preserve livelihoods and prevent acute malnutrition and help the country get back on its feet,” said Jean-Noel Gentile, WFP Representative and Country Director in Niger. “USAID’s support will help WFP provide vital assistance to conflict-affected people, including those forced to flee their homes and host communities. We thank USAID for standing with vulnerable populations in times of need, being crisis response or integrated resilience building activities addressing the root causes of hunger.”
Malnutrition in Niger continues to be a cause for concern. The latest figures indicate that the prevalence of global acute malnutrition in children under five is 12.2%, significantly higher than the emergency threshold of 10% set by the World Health Organization, including 2.4% of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
“The US$15 million from the American people will immediately serve Niger’s vulnerable populations in crisis-affected areas," said USAID Mission Director Maria Barrón. “Through our contribution to WFP, USAID’s assistance will provide internally displaced people and their host communities cash and in-kind support while offering nutritional support to children under age five,” she added. “Yet, there is still more that can be done with the help of others to address Niger’s food insecurity.”
The latest Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis, conducted in March 2023, reveals that a staggering 3.3 million people in Niger equivalent to 13% of the country's population– are expected to face acute food insecurity during the June-August 2023 lean season. This marks the second-highest level of food insecurity recorded since the inception of the Cadre Harmonisé analysis in 2012. Moreover, as of May 2023, Niger is home to 249,256 refugees and 361,593 internally displaced people (IDP) living in border areas across all regions.
The United States of America is a crucial partner for WFP in Niger, providing US$65 million in 2022 for emergency food and nutrition assistance and resilience building operations but also UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) managed by WFP. For 2023, this additional contribution brings USA’s total funding towards WFP Niger to US$49.1 million to date.
To continue responding to the increasing food and nutrition needs in Niger in 2023, WFP requires US$ 76.4 million, including US$ 43.6 million for crises response until November 2023.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.
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