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Team Shocked By Condition Of Niger’s Young

Emergency Team Shocked By Condition Of Niger’s Young - Save The Children

- Save the Children New Zealand is accepting donations for the children of Niger -

Save the Children’s emergency response to the food shortage crisis in Niger has found extremely high levels of malnutrition among children.

Toby Porter, Director of Emergencies at Save the Children UK (Save the Children’s lead agency in Niger) says without urgent assistance, a quarter of the country’s 12 million people, including hundreds of thousands of children, will starve to death.

“Our team in Niger has been shocked by the levels of malnutrition in the region and we are working hard to ensure the most vulnerable children are given the best chance of survival.”

The slow response of rich nations to widespread poverty in Niger is not good enough, he says.

“There is no war in Niger, no rebel groups, no despots, no problems getting the aid in – it is simply because so many people in Niger are desperately poor, so many live below the poverty line, that a small shock creates a humanitarian disaster,” he says. “It is sad and unacceptable. We are now racing so that our relief is not too late for Niger’s children.”

Save the Children is providing nutritional assistance to an estimated 15,000 children under five years old in the Maradi and Zinder regions, which are facing the most acute food shortages following the lethal combination of poor rainfall in 2005 and a locust infestation. Food and health activities include the operation of a Feeding Centre from where “Plumpy Nut” (a high protein, peanut-based supplement) is provided to severely malnourished children and their families.

Save the Children is also working to ensure the Ministry of Health has adequate medical supplies to address the health needs of children, particularly immunisation from measles and tetanus.

Niger is one of the world's least developed countries. In the Maradi and Zinder regions, 3 in 10 children do not survive to see their fifth birthday.

Save the Children New Zealand is accepting donations on freephone 0800 167 168 or by post to PO Box 6584, Marion Square, Wellington. All donations for Niger are directed through to Save the Children UK’s emergency programme.

ENDS

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