Crisis in Niger

Media Release – 27 July, 2005

Three of Australia’s major aid and development agencies have come together to call on Australians to donate to those affected by the food crisis in Niger.

The agencies, Caritas Australia, Oxfam Australia and World Vision, are collaborating in their call for funds amid warnings the crisis in Niger may be followed by life threatening famines in nearby Mali and Mauritania.

All three agencies have been working in Niger since at least 2004, providing support when drought and locust plagues first threatened food supplies.

At least 3.6 million people are suffering from food shortages and up to 2.5 million are eating wild food sources. It is estimated that three in every 10,000 children are dying each day from severe malnutrition.

Separate assessments by each of the three agencies indicate that the situation will continue to worsen at least until the next harvest in October and that the long term consequences on livelihoods, especially the loss of livestock , are likely to impact on food security for years to come.

Food aid to Niger is further complicated by the food shortages in nearby Mali and Mauritania. There are fears these countries could soon face severe famine.

For further media information:

Caritas Australia Margaret Rice 0417 284 831

Oxfam Australia Marlene McIntyre 0407 515 559

World Vision Martin Thomas 0401 712 644

To donate:

Caritas Australia 1800 024 413 or www.caritas.org.au

Oxfam 1800 034 034 or www.oxfam.org.au

World Vision 13 32 40 or www.worldvision.com.au