Counterpart begins food distribution in flooded eastern Niger

October 5, 2012

Counterpart International will distribute emergency food relief in Niger this week, delivering assistance to nearly 62,000 people in the three eastern provinces.

After heavy rains and flooding in September, Counterpart immediately worked with the affected communities to identify the most vulnerable households that needed help getting food.

“This emergency response will ease their suffering and shore up their losses so that they’re able to carry on with the harvest and go into the next season,” says Counterpart program manager Marcus Cleveland. Read more about Counterpart International’s humanitarian work.

The food, which amounts to more than 1.2 metric tons of vegetable oil, bulgur, and corn soy blend, will be distributed over four or five days to more than 6,000 households, which include nearly 62,000 people in need, including more than 17,000 pregnant and lactating women. The rations are enough to last recipients one month.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, which supports the ongoing food security program in Niger, approved Counterpart’s humanitarian response, and asked fellow aid organizations to respond to the crisis by providing shelter and other commodities. Counterpart currently has a food security development program in Niger.


Long road to recovery

With 500 hectares of rice fields ruined and hundreds of mud brick homes partially or completely destroyed in the provinces where Counterpart works, a long-term approach will be needed to help rebuild the lives of those affected.

But recovery may take several years, according to Cleveland. Between harvesting those crops that weren’t destroyed, rebuilding houses and recouping lost assets like possessions buried in the mud, families will struggle to fully recoup the time and resources lost in this disaster.

Many communities in Niger are in chronic recovery mode due to shocks like droughts that come more and more frequently.

“With climate change, the cycles are coming faster and faster, and the time to recover is getting shorter and shorter,” says Cleveland.

Under the ongoing development program that began in Niger in 2008, Counterpart collaborates with communities so they may become more resilient to floods, drought and other natural disasters by preventing malnutrition, increasing agricultural productivity, building capacity for managing cereal banks and providing education on maternal and child health.

It also works to restore natural resources and wetlands by introducing new crops and training farmers on improved planting and harvesting methods, crop protection, post-harvest handling, and storage, and by providing them with irrigation equipment and technology. Read more about the program here, and about Counterpart International’s food security and nutrition work.

Counterpart works with communities in Niger and in 22 other countries around the world to identify and address their development needs,and builds the capacity of local organizations to carry on the work after internationally-funded programs end. The USAID-funded program in Niger is scheduled to conclude in July 2013.

Counterpart International helps people build better lives and more durable futures, community by community. For 50 years, Counterpart has been an innovator, changing the way people look at, and solve, global development challenges. Today, we are working with more than 3,500 local organizations, and more than 150,000 leaders — including women and youth — in 24 countries around the world. Learn more

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