Niger: How Political Crisis Impacts Children

The political crisis in Niger poses an ever greater danger for millions of vulnerable children in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Development Diaries reports that the already high prevalence of severe malnutrition amongst children is expected to increase further as reported by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Earlier in August, Nigeria disconnected the supply of 150 megawatts of electricity daily to Niger as part of efforts by the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) to restore democratic order in the country.

This has severely impacted the efforts of the country and its development partners in tackling the malnutrition crisis.

Malnutrition is a major challenge to children’s health in Niger with about 15 percent of children acutely malnourished, according to data from UNICEF.

Also, about 47.8 percent of children suffer from stunting which has consequences for a child’s survival and cognitive development.

With the current power cut across the country, cold storage facilities for Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), vaccines and other medical supplies have gone out of operation leaving the country short of immediate supplies.

‘The current situation is of great concern and adds a heavy burden to an already dire humanitarian landscape, where the prevalence of severe malnutrition amongst children is extremely high – one of the worst in West and Central Africa’, UNICEF’s Representative in Niger, Stefano Savi, said in a statement.

‘At present, more than two million children have been impacted by the crisis and are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

‘Even before the recent civil unrest and political instability in Niger, an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five were forecast to be malnourished in 2023, with at least 430,000 children expected to suffer from the deadliest form of malnutrition’.

With the ongoing crisis yet to be resolved, it is crucial that a dire humanitarian situation in the country is prevented as children will be the ones greatly impacted.

Development Diaries, therefore, calls on all parties to the crisis to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers, and that supplies safely reach the most vulnerable children and families where urgently needed.

Photo source: HRW


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