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Three things to know about the humanitarian situation in Niger

First of all, there are concerns about food prices because this is the agricultural lean season, which is when prices are usually already sky-high and many of the poorest families struggle to meet their basic needs. Part of the cereals consumed in Niger are imported from neighbouring countries like Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana, while millet, beans and other foodstuffs are exported, primarily to Nigeria. 

Truckloads of food and goods are blocked at the borders with Nigeria and Benin and the disruption to trade in the region can only make already high levels of food insecurity even worse, both in Niger and neighbouring countries. A total of 3.3 million people (13 per cent of Nigerien people) are suffering from acute food insecurity. 

There are also problems with obtaining supplies of essential goods such as drugs and energy. Last year, 70 per cent of Niger’s electricity was purchased from Nigeria. The health system relies partially on electricity to keep hospitals functioning, ensure the cold chain for vaccines and operate equipment. Lots of hospitals have generators, but when they’re the sole source of energy, maintaining and obtaining fuel for them can be challenging.

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