Half of Niger's population, 7.8 million people, suffer from food shortage according to Niger government. Last year's rainy season was bad: rains were irregular, they arrived late and stopped earlier than normally. This thinned harvests and led to a 31 percent slump in crop production compared to the previous year. Normally, the lean season is between May and October when the cereal stocks are low and new crops are not yet available. This year, the hunger season started up to four months earlier than usually.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched (18 March, 2010) an emergency appeal of close to a million Swiss francs (677,278 EUR) to assist Niger Red Cross National Society to help 300,000 people made vulnerable by the food crisis.
The IFRC and Niger Red Cross have started their operation in three regions in Niger: Tahoua, Diffa and Zinder. 'Cash for work' project enables people to get money to buy food by working on seven different sites in April and May to stop erosion. The next step would be to distribute improved seeds to most vulnerable farmers ahead of the next planting season (which begins in May-June) but funding is still lacking. The distribution of seeds would enable farmers to collect some harvest in September. In addition, food will be distributed in partnership with the World Food programme (WFP) during the planting season when farmers are working in the fields and they won't have time for 'cash for work' activities.
Niger Red Cross volunteers assist several health centres in the country to identify malnutrition in children and to distribute corn soya blend (CSB) to children suffering from moderate and severe acute malnutrition.
Bambéye village, Tahoua region, 600 km North West from the capital of Niamey, Niger, 16 April 2010
00:00 Bars and tone
01:12 Wide: village people work on a 50-hectare site to stop erosion. ‘Cash for work' project of the Niger Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
01:15 Medium of Niger Red Cross volunteers working at the site with village people
01:18 Close up of a Niger Red Cross volunteer working
01:21 SOUNDBITE: (Hausa) President Ali Bandiaré, Niger Red Cross National Society:
Niger Red Cross, with the support of donors, is committed to assist the population in this food crisis. However, since it will not be possible to help all the country, we have targeted to intervene in three regions: Diffa, Zinder and Tahoua.
01:44 Wide: men dig micro-catchments in the ground. When rains come, water stays in the ditch allowing tree planting and grass seeding. This way, more water can enter the soil, trees and gras will grow and the ground water table will rise. This improves th eenvironment and stops further desertification.
01:48 Pan Niger Red Cross food security coordinator and men working
01:56 Close up of the ground and a pick axe
01:59 SOUNDBITE: (French) Food security coordinator Mounkaïla Yayé, Niger Red Cross National Society:
People who come and work on this site, receive some income and will be able to buy cereal.// With money for one day's work, one can buy food for the family for a day and a half. // At the same time (with income and access to cereal), the environment is restored.
02:29 Wide of ditches, man digs a micro-catchment
02:32 Medium of Niger RC food security coordinator discusses with beneficiaries
02:37 SOUNDBITE: (Hausa) Illia Anza, beneficiary for Niger Red Cross/IFRC ‘Cash for work' project
We dig the ground so that when it rains, water stays in the ditches. Then we can plant trees and grass. This will diminish the desertification.
02:58 Close up: woman digs with pick axe
03:01 Wide: women dig
03:06 Wide: men and women dig micro-catchments
03:10 Close up of man using shovel
03.12 Wide two men dig
03:15 SOUNDBITE: (Hausa) Moustapha Ibrahima, beneficiary for Niger Red Cross/IFRC ‘Cash for work'project:
We eat these leaves to be able to work. //We have no cereal in stock. Thanks to the work with the Red Cross, we don't have to leave on exile.
03:29 Wide: ditches, people dig
03:34 Wide: women dig with pick axes
03:37 Close up: woman digs
03:43 SOUNDBITE: (Hausa) Andi, beneficiary for Niger Red Cross/IFRC ‘Cash for work' project:
I am here because there is nothing to eat. My husband is not here so I have to take care of all the children on my own.
Taza town, Tahoua region, 600 km North West from the capital of Niamey, Niger, 17-18 April 2010
03:58 Wide of Niger Red Cross vehicle and volunteers on the road
04:02 Pan of Taza health centre: Women wait for children to be weighed, measured and to be given vitamin A, deworming and iron. During one day, hundred children were weighed: half of them were malnourished.
04:06 Wide: baby boy being weighed by a Niger Red Cross volunteer
04:13 Tilt from baby to the scale
04:19 Wide of women and children wait at the health centre
04:23 Close up of a malnourished child
04:27 Wide: volunteer measures a child
04:32 Wide: two volunteers behind the table register children
04:36 Medium of woman with her child
04:39 Close up of vitamin A jar
04:43 Close up of a child who gets oral drop of vitamin A
04:49 SOUNDBITE: (Hausa) Hadiza Oussmane:
My daughter has been ill for a long time. //She has constantly fever and diarrhoea. //She is better now but still doesn't eat. I often bring her in the health centre, even last week I came here.
05:04 Close up of scale which shows Hadiza Oussmane's daughter's weight: 4 kilos
05:07 Close up of a Hadiza Oussmane's child being weighed by a Red Cross volunteer
05:12 Wide: Women with babies wait for their turn
05:16 Volunteer gives the malnourished baby to her mother, Hadiza Oussmane
05:20 Medium of Red Cross volunteer sensitizing women how to prepare Corn soya blend (CSB) (food supplement meant for malnoursihed children. Has to be given twice a day for two weeks in addition to normal family meals)
05:25 Wide of Niger Red Cross volunteer sensitizing women: how to prepare Corn soya blend (CSB)
05:28 Medium: Ramatou Inoussa with her child Ismael listen to sensitization
05:31 Wide volunteer prepares the 3,5 kg bags with CSB for each mother
05:36 SOUNDBITE: (Hausa) Ramatou Inoussa:
I brought my son to the health centre because he's sick and I wanted to get him corn flour to enrich his nourishment. //The harvest was not good this year, so we try to feed our children with what we find.
05:52 Ramatou Inoussa leaves with her bag of CSB
05:57 SOUNDBITE: (French) Hadiza Mohamidou, Niger Red Cross volunteer:
It's a blend of corn flour, sugar and oil that we give to mothers. They will mix it with hot water at home and give it to malnourished child. But this is not enough, in addition a child has to be given normal family meals.
06:17 Wide of village near Taza
06:23 Wide of Ismael with his mother Ramatou Inoussa at home
06:30 Close up of Ismael eating the CSB
06:37 SOUNDBITE: (Hausa) Ramatou Inoussa:
My child looks a lot better after I have given him the mixture. He just ate it and this afternoon I will prepare more of it. Thanks to God, he's recovering.
06:54 Wide of an abadonned village near Taza
06:56 Wide of a dead cow
07:00 Pan of truck passing with men leaving for town with matresses and furniture
07:06 Wide of men hitting the millet (battre le mil), woman prepares to pound millet
07:08 Wide of men beat millet
07:11 Close up of a big mortar with millet
07:14 Close up of a woman pounding millet
Tahoua town, 600 km North West from the capital of Niamey, Niger, 18 April 2010
07:18 Wide of market, people load a truck
07:22 Close up of bags of cereal
07:25 Wide of crop seller and client exchange money
07:29 Wide of men unload cereal bags to the shop
07:32 SOUNDBITE: (Hausa) Yacoubou Issa, cereal seller:
1. Our main crop supplies come from Niger's Maradi region and from Nigeria. //However, there has been less supplies lately so the price of 100 kg bag of millet has risen from 17 000 (26 EUR) CFA francs to 21 000 francs (33 EUR).
07:48 Wide of market road, truck loaded with cereal leaves, people pass