EC to provide aid for West Africa's food needs

The European Commission (EC) has recently earmarked 6.6 million euros as humanitarian aid for Niger and Mali.

The EC has moved to provide this funding mainly for nutritional support, dividing the funds into 4.6 million euros for Niger, and 2 million euros for Mali.

The funds will be managed by the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO).

Niger and Mali are currently suffering a food crisis due to a destructive cricket infestation in 2004, followed by drought.

Both disasters led to a poor harvest, and most families are currently subsisting on a diet made up almost exclusively of wild roots and herbs.

Infant mortality and malnutrition rates have likewise increased sharply. The money provided may benefit an estimated 300,000 people in Niger, and 110,000 in Mali.

The Commission also has a longer term development strategy aimed at reducing poverty in Mali and Niger.

This entails an allocation of 392.2 million euros for Mali and 332.8 million euros for Niger for the period 2002-2007.

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