The Government of Niger declares an emergency–believers respond.

By June 3, 2005

Niger (MNN)–The government of Niger has declared a state of emergency. Officials sent out an international appeal for help to feed over three and a half million Nigeriens who are in critical need, 800-thousand of them are children under five years old.

Months of drought were compounded by a locust infestation in the world’s second poorest country. As a result, recent nutrition surveys conducted by World Vision and other agencies in the districts of Maradi and Zinder show that child malnutrition rates are alarmingly high.

Some 13.4 percent of the children are acutely malnourished and 2.5 percent severely malnourished–these are rates normally associated with war-torn countries.

World Vision’s Karen Homer, speaking from Niger. “World Vision has already distributed nine hundred tons of food and we just received a grant for more assistance, actually from the U-S government. We’re just hoping that we can get the food to these children over the next coming months.”

An estimated 223,487 metric tons of food are needed in Niger after drought and locust swarms destroyed most of the last year’s harvest and almost 40 percent of livestock fodder.

In addition to immediate emergency relief, long-term solutions are needed to address Niger’s food security problems. According to World Vision Australia, their teams have launched an acacia tree program to help reverse the deforestation that has depleted the soil.

Meeting the physical needs is not enough. But, in meeting the spiritual needs, team members tread cautiously. Sharing their faith can be tricky in Muslim-dominated areas like Niger.

Even so, Homer says, “Bringing food in the Name of Christ is very important to show the love of God by sharing food and assistance with people here. They’re very appreciative of that. They know World Vision is a Christian organization.”

If you’d like to help, go to the World Vision website by following the link above.

Leave a Reply