In a typical year, between 15 and 20 percent of Niger’s16 million people need food assistance. In 2012, the number more than doubled after harvests failed in 2011.Throughout 2012, people in Niger remained in an exceptionally fragile food security and nutrition situation and required targeted relief assistance.Results of June 2012 nutrition survey revealed a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of above 15 per cent (emergency threshold) in Zinder (15.9 per cent), Maradi (16.2 per cent), Tillabéry (16.6 per cent) and Diffa (16.7 per cent). Countrywide, GAM reached 14.8 per cent and Severe Acute Malnutrition was more than 2 per cent. These levels warranted urgent humanitarian assistance.
People in Niger also suffered from the impact of the armed conflict in Mali, as thousands of Malians crossed the border to seek refuge in Niger. Many went to Tillabery and Tahoua provinces, where host communities were already severely affected by food insecurity.
Heavy and sustained rains in provinces and along the Niger and Komadougou rivers caused flooding in low-lying areas, affecting more than half a million people. More than 100 people died, and damage to property was widespread. Malaria was the main cause of morbidity in Niger, affecting more than 1 million people. Cholera, an epidemic for years, worsened in 2012 with more than 5,000 new cases. Tillabéry was the most affected region.
Niger’s crisis prevention and management agency, Dispositif National, is widely regarded as one of the best in the region. In 2012, OCHA helped it to extend its mandate to respond to other types of crises. OCHA also supported the humanitarian coordination mechanisms and strategies used by more than 120 international and national humanitarian partners.
OCHA helped mobilize critical humanitarian funding through the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The 2012 CAP was funded at 64 per cent (US$312,729,054 of the $ 489,640,803 requested),and $ 24 million was received from the CERF rapid response window. OCHA helped secure an additional $111,175,533 for humanitarian action beyond what was contributed to the CAP.
Because of the volatile security situation in some areas, particularly Agadez, Tahoua and Tillaberi, and to facilitate greater humanitarian access, OCHA successfully advocated military escorts for humanitarian convoys wherever they were deemed necessary. OCHA also made the case for the activation of an Emergency Education Cluster, and for Non-Food Items and Emergency Shelter Working Groups to help ensure a coherent response.
OCHA provided planning, coordination and capacity-building services, and it functioned as the secretariat of humanitarian coordination mechanisms (such as the Humanitarian Country Team, inter-cluster coordination efforts, clusters, joint assessments, contingency planning) and strategies (such as the Common Humanitarian Action Plan and the CAP).
OCHA worked with development partners to ensure greater coherence between humanitarian, recovery and development activities, and it ensured that resilience activities were considered for all projects included in the 2013 CAP. OCHA supported the Government by providing information management products, such as maps and databases, to strengthen its disaster preparedness and response capacity.