Friday, April 02, 2010

Mass school absenteeism in Niger due to hunger

Food shortages in southern Niger have been so severe that there have been mass withdraws from school students. There have been 50 cases of child starvation reported in Niger since January.

From the Independent On-Line, this AFP article explains the situation.

"Because of the food insecurity that prevails in our country, cases of mass abandonment have been registered in some schools," the government said in a published statement after a cabinet meeting Thursday.

The abandoning of classes was reported particularly in the Takieta district in the central southern Zinder region, where primary schools were totally or partially empty.

The government described the situation as "very worrying" and said that the "departures are the consequence of the exodus of families" faced with severe food shortages.

The statement was the first official report of peasant farmers leaving their homesteads because of famine. The Zinder region is one of the worst affected by the food crisis that has struck Niger this year.

The population of several Sahel nations in west Africa has endured chronic malnutrition for years and has been plunged into potential starvation because of the lack of rain in 2009.

According to the charity Oxfam, this crisis could affect "almost 10 million people" in coming months.

1 comment:

Fighthunger said...

Some 44% of all Niger children fall into the ranks of the malnourished... Most people survive on subsistence farming, however this season they saw hardly any rain. In addition to drought, they're also facing high food prices. We need to recognize the signs of a looming hunger crisis: