Media Advisory: UN agency chiefs to visit Niger 4 to 7 May

Briefing Notes, 4 May 2012

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 4 May 2012, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, Ertharin Cousin, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, are scheduled to arrive today in the drought-hit country of Niger, West Africa.

The two senior UN officials are to fly to the capital, Niamey and will spend two days visiting projects in Ouallam and Maradi where hunger and malnutrition have reached emergency levels. They will meet some of the tens of thousands of refugees in Mangaize, northern Niger, who have fled from fighting in neighbouring Mali, putting further strain on communities in Niger that are already facing a food crisis.

WFP has launched an emergency operation to provide food assistance to nearly 4 million people in Niger, and is working in partnership with UNHCR to support some 160,000 Malian refugees throughout the Sahel region. The High Commissioner and Executive Director aim to sensitize the international community and to mobilize its support for emergency assistance to the people affected by drought and as well as by instability in Mali.

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For additional data and information on the Sahel emergency, visit,, and