Friday, August 05, 2005

Red Cross opens ‘Niger’ Appeal Fund

The Gibraltar Red Cross has launched an appeal for the crisis in the famine-stricken country of Niger where thousands of children are starving to death.

Drought and locust invasions have wiped out crops in Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries which is now also facing an outbreak of deadly diseases including cholera. The situation has been worsening over the past few months.

The appeal fund account locally ‘The Gibraltar Red Cross Niger Appeal Fund’ has been opened at Barclays Bank at 84-90 Main Street. The Account Number is: 1110777.

Red Cross Treasurer Charlie Montegriffo expressed hope that the people in Gibraltar would support the appeal in the same way as they had supported other appeals in the past.

“We would appreciate many donations as possible, and once again count on people’s generosity to help in their own way the suffering in this area,” he said.

The landlocked country of nearly 12 million people, was devastated by an invasion of locusts that ate everything green last year and was then hit by drought that lasted until early July.

The first UN appeal for help in November got almost no response. Another appeal for 16 million dollars in March got about 1 million dollars. An appeal on May 25 for 30 million dollars only started receiving major donations after television showed pictures of Niger’s hungry and malnourished.

The United Nations increased its appeal to over 75 million dollars to help 2.5 million people in desperate need of food in Niger, and said more money will be needed to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the west African nation. The UN World Food Program more than tripled the amount of emergency aid it is seeking for southern Niger, the epicentre of the crisis, from 16 million dollars six months ago to 57.6 million dollars.

“With the situation deteriorating over recent weeks, our main objective is to save lives," James Morris, executive director of the Rome-based agency said in a statement.

"Whole families are suffering because of a desperate shortage of food, which has forced them to eat just one meal a day of maize, leaves or wild fruits."

Related Links:

DEC - Disaster Emergency Committee's Niger Crisis Appeal

United Nations Niger Crisis Appeal

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