First Lady of Niger Addresses Food and Water Issues

A day after CARE helped sponsor a summit May 21 in Atlanta on global and water issues, particularly in Africa, a new report has been released showing the intensifying food crisis in West Africa’s Sahel region.

Invited by Medshare, a Decatur-based nonprofit organization that reallocates surplus medical supplies to countries in need, Niger’s first lady, Aissata Issouflou Mahamadou, says she attended the summit to raise awareness among American organizations about the global health problems facing Niger and other African countries, particularly the issue of clean water.

“Water is important for all of our goals,” she told GlobalAtlanta. “You need drinkable water for health; you need water for the environment and for agriculture and you need it for education so that the students are healthy and can learn.”

But as summer approaches in West Africa’s Sahel region, the food crisis there appears to be worsening and is expected to intensify, according to a new study compiled by the Food Crisis Prevention Network.

In Niger, the country’s most populous regions may soon also reach “extreme” levels of hunger, particularly as the summer intensifies, according to the report.

Significant portions of every nation in the western Sahel are already experiencing “critical” levels of hunger, with parts of Mali and Mauritania already suffering more-dangerous “extreme” levels of hunger.

The news also came as world leaders met at the 38th G8 meeting held May 18-22 at Camp David, Md., to discuss long-term solutions for the millions of people in need of food aid in countries around the world.

Representatives from the humanitarian organization CARE have urged these leaders to strengthen commitments to relieving the food crisis in the western Sahel region.

“We are in the midst of a huge crisis where millions of lives hang in the balance,” said Helene Gayle, CARE president and CEO in a news release. “CARE urges G8 leaders to highlight the Sahel as they address long-term commitments to improving food security in Africa.”

For more GlobalAtlanta coverage of the May 21 water conference held in Atlanta, go here.

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