Concern continuing lifesaving work in Niger and calls for humanitarian work not to be hampered following recent instability
Concern Worldwide is calling for humanitarian work not to be hampered in Niger where it continues to provide lifesaving support to struggling families facing an unprecedented food crisis.
Concern has been in the West African nation for 20 years and plans to continue its humanitarian and development work there despite the recent instability in the country where 4.3 million people are in need of support, including 2 million children.
“We remain focused on our work and urge all stakeholders to ensure that aid and humanitarian workers can reach those in need,” said Concern’s Niger Country Director, Francesco Tropea.
“Niger was already facing an unprecedented food crisis before the recent events, with 2.9 million people experiencing severe food insecurity and requiring emergency food assistance.
“There are hundreds of thousands of children under 5 years of age suffering from acute malnutrition, which is fatal if not treated and also many malnourished pregnant and breastfeeding women.
“As of June 2023, the country was hosting 400,000 people displaced internally and 250,000 refugees from neighboring countries as a result of displacement by armed conflict, attacks towards civilians and the climate crisis.
“The people of Niger need help from the global community now more than ever.”
Mr. Tropea said Concern’s Niger team of over 140 aid workers are safe and that their programming work has resumed after it was temporarily paused last week while they monitored the current situation.
“Many thousands of families are currently receiving cash from us so they can afford to buy enough food to survive,” he said.
“This is crucial as the price of a bag of rice has already increased 25-30 percent in the last week since the instability began.
“We are continuing to support the Ministry of Health to assess and treat children coming to health centers sick and malnourished and in desperate need of food, clean water, and other nutritional and health support.
“It is essential that humanitarian workers can continue their operations and that human suffering is prevented at all costs. We will continue to monitor events as they unfold in Niger and the safety and security of our staff remains our utmost priority.”
Last week marked Concern’s 20th year in Niger where last year it reached 3 million people directly and indirectly through its humanitarian work.
Concern works in three of the most vulnerable regions of Niger, which are Tahoua, Tillaberi and Diffa.
The organization said underfunding remains a major constraint to humanitarian responses in Niger with only 37 percent of the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan funded by June.
Niger is a landlocked nation and the largest in West Africa, with much of it covered by the Sahara and Sahel deserts and a population of over 25 million.
According to the 2021 UNDP Human Development Index, Niger is ranked 189 out of 191 countries, with land degradation and “economic and climate shocks” among its vulnerabilities.