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2010.01.01

* UNICEF responds to growing food emergency in Niger
* 시간: 03 min 31 secs
* 촬영도시: Zinder Province
* 촬영국가: Niger
* 촬영일자: 07 Jun 2010


In Niger, children are bearing the brunt of a devastating food crisis. And the situation is getting worse despite the arrival of this season's first rains. Health centers across the country are filled with malnourished infants and anxious mothers. And each day more and more arrive.


SOUNDBITE (French) Illa Malamam, Head Nurse
"In recent weeks we're seeing a lot of cases of malnourished children and this is a result of a lack of food at home. The women, the parents simply cannot take care of their children."


Niger's current food emergency is a result of last year's erratic rains which caused a countrywide crop failure. In many villages there's nothing left to eat. For months Raya Sahi and her seven children have been surviving on Anza, a wild fruit that survives drought.


SOUNDBITE (Hausa) Raya Sahi, Mother
"It's is a disaster. In this village and all those around us we don't have any food. It's been more than 3 weeks since I've even seen a single seed. All that we are left with are these leaves and wild fruit."


This region which borders the Sahara desert is prone to cycles of drought and food shortages… But this is one of the worst in memory.


SOUNDBITE (French) Elizabeth Zanou, UNICEF Nutrition Officer
"We are preparing for a very difficult year in terms food and are expecting nearly 400,000 severely malnourished across Niger"


UNICEF together with its UN and NGO partners are helping Niger's public health sector cope with the crisis. Most malnourished children can simply be treated by giving them a high energy paste called Plumpy-nut which is supplied by UNICEF.


But the most severe cases do not respond to Plumpy nut...they have to be referred to special health centers called CRENIS


SOUNDBITE (French) Guido Cornale UNICEF Representative Niger
" It is the small children, those under 2 who suffer the worst consequences of the crisis because they don't have enough to eat, because they're the most susceptible to disease and because there is ac vicious cycle between malnutrition and sickness. A sick child doesn't eat and an undernourished child gets sick more often."


To break this cycle UNICEF has helped the government launch a blanket feeding program in partnership with the World Food Program and other NGO partners which is expected to reach 500,000 children countrywide this year.


Mothers who have at least one child between six months and two years old receive a monthly ration of oil, sugar and fortified flour to protect their children from malnutrition While there is hope for a better harvest this season … Niger's food crisis will continue until at least the end of the year. A