BURBANK, California (June 7, 2005) – Over 5 million people in the West African

countries of Niger and Mali are affected by a major food shortage following a

severe drought as well as crops which have been destroyed by locusts.

Islamic Relief Worldwide is responding to the crisis with $5.4 million in aid,

$1.8 million of this has already been allocated.

About 15% of Niger’s cereal production and almost 40% of the country’s

livestock fodder was lost, resulting in the death of many livestock animals.

In Niger, estimated figures indicate that there are 3.6 million people in need of

critical food aid. Approximately 800,000 of these are children and 150,000 of

these children are already showing signs of severe malnutrition. Before the

onset of the present crisis, 40% of the children were already suffering from

the shortage of food. The total number of people affected by this crisis

exceeds 5 million as there are over 1.5 million people suffering in Mali.

Islamic Relief  will be distributing 50 tons of food aid per month to vulnerable

women, children and disabled persons in the areas of Tilaberi and Tahoua,

and 30 tons of food aid per month to Wallam and the surrounding villages in

Niger until September. Thirty supplementary feeding centers will also be

established, as well as the building of 10 water sources in each of the three

areas.

The WFP has warned that “these statistics will only get worse over the next

few months unless immediate action is taken.”

It takes as little as $1.21 a day to feed a person in Niger and Mali.

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