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Norway provides additional €1 million for Niger

Additional €1 million (NOK 8 million) in emergency relief in connection with the famine in Niger has been allocated by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Norway has now provided a total of €4 million (NOK 31.5 million) for emergency relief efforts in Niger.

15/02/2006 :: “The situation in Niger is extremely dramatic, and it is vital to get help to the hard-hit population as quickly as possible,” said State Secretary Leiv Lunde.

So far the Norwegian funds have been used for relief efforts led by UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and CARE International. The additional funds will be used to support the WFP and Norwegian organisations, mainly in the form of food relief and funding to cover the associated transportation costs.

The European Commission has also provided significant emergency funding for vulnerable populations living on this southern fringe of the Sahara Desert. The package, consisting mainly of targeted nutritional support, involves €4.6 million for Niger and €2 million for Mali. The Commission also has a longer term development strategy aimed at reducing poverty in Mali and Niger.

The region was badly affected by a destructive cricket infestation last year followed by drought. As a result, the 2004 harvest was poor, and many pastoralist families have now used up their reserves. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. The UN has asked for $30 million to alleviate the crisis.

Sources: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs / ECHO

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