Food crisis imminent in Niger
Monrovia - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says Niger could be heading towards a "full-scale food crisis."
About one million people are reportedly short of food following a poor harvest. According to the agency, the severe lack of cereal could lead to a crisis worse than those seen in 2005 and 2010.
Denise Brown, who heads WFP's operations in Niger, says vulnerable families are still exhausted by last year's shortage. "They have little ability to confront another emergency," she said.
Lengthy droughts are becoming increasingly frequent in the Sahel region, which stretches from southern Libya and Algeria down to Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
This year's food crisis could be worsened by an increased demand for supplies; about 200 000 migrant workers have returned to Niger, escaping conflict in Libya and Cote d'Ivoire.
Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania are also affected by the drought. In Mauritania, about 700 000 people are facing food shortages, according to WFP.