Action Against Hunger mounts emergency response in Niger

Families fleeing Boko Haram violence in need of humanitarian assistance

Our emergency response teams have launched an emergency response in Niger’s Diffa region as violence escalates into a worsening humanitarian crisis

By Christine Kahmann

Apr 17 2015

Families continue to flee their villages in pursuit for safety as violence escalates in the border region between Niger and Northern Nigeria. More than 100,000 people have already fled to Niger’s Diffa region. Access to food, water and sanitation is limited, creating a dangerous environment for families in the region, especially children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

According to our teams, markets have been disrupted, trade has been paralysed and health centres have closed due to the insecurity. “The lack of sanitation entails a very high risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera,” said Montse Escruela, Nutrition Coordinator for Action Against Hunger’s Emergency Response team.

According to recent surveys carried out by the World Food Programme, nearly one in four children suffer from acute malnutrition and one in seven people do not know where their next meal is coming from. Nearly one in two households in the Diffa region (40 per cent) have already been forced to reduce their daily food intake. 

The region is food-deficient even during normal times and has been facing major humanitarian challenges such as floods, food insecurity and malnutrition over the last few years. The arrival of people fleeing the armed conflict in Nigeria - an estimated 500 and 1,000 people per week –is aggravating the existing humanitarian crisis.

The situation is also putting enormous pressure on communities hosting the new arrivals. “Families have been incredibly generous but the lack of access to food, water and sanitation presents an enormous challenge,” said Montse Escruela. 

Present in Niger since 1997, we have launched an emergency response focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene in the Diffa region. Over the next few weeks, we are planning to help 15,000 people by building and rehabilitating water points, carrying out hygiene promotion sessions and distributing hygiene kits to reduce the risk of waterborne disease. 

 

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Image: ACF-Niger, courtesy of Gonzalo Hoehr