UK Aid Agencies Step up Appeal for Niger Food Crisis

Since the first cargo of food and resources arrived in Niger by flight last week to tackle the widespread food crisis across West Africa, there has been an increased international awareness to the issue. According to World Vision, almost one-quarter of Niger’s 12 million people are still at risk, including 800,000 children.

Eleven of the UK’s leading aid agencies today joined hands together in the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to launch an appeal to raise funds for Niger among the UK public. These agencies include Action Aid, the British Red Cross, World Vision, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, Christian Aid among others.

The DEC Niger Crisis Appeal opens for telephone and online donations on Saturday 30th July, with TV and radio appeals launching on Tuesday 2nd August.

DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley said it was hoped the campaign could raise around £10m.

"We need the public to donate whatever they can to help us save lives. DEC members are working together to get urgent supplies of food to those who need it most urgently in Niger and are also scaling up their efforts in the other countries of the Sahel region in West Africa, which are also badly affected. Every second counts," Gormley said.

Gormley said to the BBC 4's Today programme that the DEC created a "one-stop shop".

"It makes it easier for people to give - you don't have to choose and know whether it should be Care, World Vision, Save The Children, Red Cross," Gormley explained.

"We do it at very reduced costs because we are able to negotiate with the broadcasters, with the banks," he continued.

The DEC has proved to be very successful in the tsunami aid. It raised £300m in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami on Boxing Day 2004.

According to the British aid agency Tearfund, Niger has been ruined by decades of chronic poverty. Before this current crisis, 40 percent of children were malnourished and Niger had the second highest global mortality rate amongst children under 5.

Donations can be made at or by calling 0870 606 0900. From Tuesday donations can be made at any High Street post office or bank.