2.3mn people in Niger could face food insecurity

United Nations: Over 2.3 million people in Niger could face food insecurity in the coming months, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

About 1.6 million of them are likely to face severe food insecurity as soon as May, a 30 per cent increase compared to projections made in November 2020, Xinhua news agency quoted the OCHA as saying on Friday.

The humanitarian office projects the 2.3 million food-insecure people for “the lean season, between June and August”.

The western-most region of Tillabery is the most affected, with more than 30 per cent of its population, 686,500 people, at risk of severe food insecurity between June and August, OCHA said.

Increasing hunger in the region comes with growing protection concerns, the humanitarians said. Armed attacks since the beginning of the year have claimed more than 300 civilian lives.

OCHA said already 500,000 people in Tillabery need humanitarian assistance, including 125,000 internally displaced people and refugees.

In February, UN humanitarian partners in Niger, which has a population of nearly 25 million, launched an appeal for $523 million, targeting aid for 2.1 million of the most vulnerable 3.8 million people in need, the humanitarian office said.