"Niger's hunger crisis: a legacy of lessons unlearned"
In Volume 376, Issue 9741 (Pages 579-581), Samuel Loewenberg reports on how the hunger crisis in Niger could have been prevented if more aid was provided earlier from the international community.
The situation is grave: an average of 7,000 children are being brought to therapeutic feeding centers each week (up from 3,000 a week a few months ago), and more than 300,000 children younger than 5 years old are approaching starvation.
Initial calls for help were largely ignored, and preventative actions that would have helped curtail the crisis didn't happen. "Now, aid agencies say they need $371 million to feed 8 million people, including 925,000 acutely malnourished infants. So far, only $142 million has been received."
Long-term investments in agriculture, family planning, and basic infrastructure are needed to both stop this crisis and prevent future occurrences, but for now aid agencies must scramble to treat the ever-growing number of malnourished and hungry.