Today, our head of the coordination office in Niger, Mahamane Rabilou Abdou, reports on the current situation in the country and how the emergency aid is progressing. You can also hear from three people who have received food parcels about how the aid is arriving:
«Our emergency project is going well and we hope to start the last distribution in Kouré commune this weekend. The aid is still urgently needed: the people in Niger are still suffering greatly from the consequences of the sanctions. Food has become too expensive for many. In a few weeks, the farmers would like to start harvesting. Unfortunately, it is already foreseeable that it will hardly last for more than four to five months. While other regions in Niger are flooded, the people in our project regions often wait in vain for the rain.
It is therefore all the more important that the next harvest in February and March will be productive. We are therefore already supporting those affected to buy new, hardy seeds that they can sow from October onwards. The current sanctions mean that vegetable seeds for tomatoes, moringa, potatoes, etc. are no longer available on the local market. We are working hard to prepare for a seed fair to counteract this.»
I thank all those who have helped us: You have changed our lives! The donations came at a time when buying food became too expensive and we had nothing left in stock. With the food parcels we received the most important things to be able to survive.
Barkat Harouna, 35, mother of seven children, Komokoukou, Dantchandou
These food donations make a big difference in our lives. We are grateful and happy! I thank everyone who donated food to us immensely – it reached us when we needed it most.
Kaïrou Moumouni, 40, father of five, Youlwa, Dantchandou
I am happy and thankful for the donations because they helped us during the famine. Thanks to them, my children have something to eat again.
Zeinabou Karimou, 30, mother of five children, Youlwa, Dantchandou
Since the start of the emergency aid in Niger at the beginning of August, we have been able to collect over 10,000 Swiss francs through online collections alone. This means we can already provide many families with food supplies. Thank you very much!
As we heard these days from Mahamane Rabilou Abdou, head of the SWISSAID office in Niger, the aid measures are progressing well. But the situation for the people in Niger is becoming increasingly precarious.
Please help us to help the people in Niger. We want to collect another 10’000 francs by 9.9. 20023. The calculation is very simple: the more money we collect, the more people on the ground we can help.
The sanctions imposed by many countries are hitting the wrong people: those in need in the poorest country in the world. SWISSAID is expanding its emergency aid in view of the continuing difficult situation. Initially, support was planned for 1’000 families, but now 2’500 families are being supported with the emergency aid project. That is around 17’500 people.
Due to the sanctions that have been introduced, food prices continue to skyrocket. «The price of a bag of rice has risen from 10’500 to 15’000 or even 16’000 CFA. That is a price increase of 60 percent,» says Mahamane Rabilou Abdou, head of the SWISSAID Niger coordination office. In addition, there are interruptions in the power supply, which also affect health facilities. Some medicines are no longer available.
As a long-standing and important partner, SWISSAID will remain in the country and support the suffering population wherever possible.
Difficult starting position in Niger
According to UN estimates, every 10th person in Niger is already suffering from hunger. Now the situation is getting worse. There has hardly been any rain in recent months. Since the coup, large parts of the population have been cut off from supplies of essential goods. And since the military coup and the introduction of sanctions, prices have skyrocketed. Even though it is difficult to predict in which direction the situation will develop: The need of the population is increasing dramatically. Aid that comes directly to the people is more important than ever.
«Many NGOs are considering stopping their projects because donors are no longer paying. Yet the country depends on this support because it protects the population from the consequences of terror and climate-induced hunger,» says Mahamane Rabilou Abdou, head of the SWISSAID coordination office in Niger.
Emergency aid starts up
For many years, SWISSAID has been helping rural farmers overcome hunger. We achieve this by supporting farmers in climate-adapted, organic farming and, above all, by strengthening the rights of women farmers.
We are currently providing acute emergency aid in the form of food supplies and seeds. If the situation allows, we will expand these activities as far as possible. In our project regions, Swissaid is currently almost the only aid organization that is on the ground and can provide concrete assistance to the people. Our staff and partners in Niger remain operational and are adapting their aid to the situation, which is changing daily.
This presence on the ground is invaluable to the population in the acute crisis. It ensures that aid reaches those most in need directly and protects people from the consequences of the government crisis and frozen aid funds. «As an organization that is already on the ground and whose main focus is food security, we feel obliged and determined to stay and support the people in need,» said Mahamane Rabilou Abdou.
Droughts, floods and great hunger
The military coup comes at a time that could not be worse for the people. After last year’s devastating disaster, the population has been hit by droughts again this year. This year, more than three million people are acutely affected by malnutrition.
“Farmers fear crop failures, as they did last year. Due to a prolonged drought in the second half of July this year, there is a worrying trend of losing this year’s harvest,” explains Mahamane Rabilou Abdou with concern.
Mariama Bagué, 47, a farmer and mother of five, says: “Our children were sick and severely emaciated, and it was only thanks to the immediate help from SWISSAID that we were able to survive the famine.”
Emergency aid: food packages, seeds, agroecology
The desperation of the people is great. Without help, many are in danger of not surviving this crisis. Above all, the children. Our work on the ground is now more important than ever. And emergency aid is needed: Our emergency plan provides for a first step to ensure the survival of the most vulnerable people with food packages. Then, with seeds that germinate even under difficult conditions and training in organic farming, we will prevent further crop failures and arm farm families against future natural disasters.
With our emergency aid we can help the people people in this people in this life-threatening moment.