Wednesday, August 25, 2010

UN sees Niger food crisis as "a disaster in the making"
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 24, 2010 -- Sounding the alarm on Niger 's ongoing food crisis, the head of the World Food Program (WFP) Josette Sheeran and UN humanitarian chief John Holmes have repeatedly raised the issue as an underfunded "disaster in the making," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here on Tuesday.

Recent flooding threatens to exacerbate an already dire situation, as Niger's population of 15 million people continue to face severe food shortages and high malnutrition rates due to prolonged drought.

Bettina Luescher, chief spokesperson for the World Food Program, told Xinhua in a Tuesday phone interview that aid efforts continue to focus on those most vulnerable to the food shortages, due to lack of full funding.

"(The WFP) is concentrating on children under 5 and their families," said Luescher. "We’re bringing food rations to 670,000 children and their families, comprising a total of 5 million people," she added.

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