UNICEF: More than 2 million children in need of humanitarian assistance in Niger

Amid recent political turmoil and the growing threat of jihadist violence, Niger, West Africa, one of the world’s most impoverished countries, is facing a humanitarian crisis that has left more than 2 million children in dire straits. The warning was made by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in a statement issued last Monday. The international organization stressed that the political instability caused by the recent coup d’état and the persistent presence of jihadist groups created a critical situation for children. “More than two million children were affected by the crisis and are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance,” they said in their statement. Prior to this wave of instability, UNICEF had already projected worrying figures for the year 2023. According to estimates, around 1.5 million children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition in Niger, with at least 430,000 of them suffering from the deadliest form of the condition. However, these numbers could grow further due to factors such as continued rising food prices and the threat of an economic downturn, which could adversely impact households and household incomes. The situation is aggravated by the “shortage of electricity”, a common reality that has become even more critical due to the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the aftermath of the coup d’état. This lack of energy negatively affected the refrigerated food supply chain and, especially, put at risk the effectiveness of “childhood vaccines” stored in the country’s health facilities. Faced with this alarming scenario, UNICEF issued an urgent appeal to all parties involved in the crisis to ensure unfettered access to essential supplies that are currently blocked at various points of entry into the country. It also calls for ensuring the safety and freedom of movement of humanitarian workers seeking to provide assistance to children and families at risk.

Original source in Spanish

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