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

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing 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.

For more information:

  • WFP
  • Malek Triki, WFP/Dakar Mob. +221 77 6375964
  • Vigno Hounkanli, PAM/Niamey +227 207 22320, Mob. +227 912 05585
  • Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
  • Elizabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Mob. +41 79 473 4570
  • Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112
  • (WFP e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@wfp.org).
  • UNHCR
  • - Niger
  • Helene Caux, +227 9237 2479, caux@unhcr.org
  • - Geneva
  • Melissa Fleming, +41 79 557 9120, fleming@unhcr.org
  • Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, +41 79 249 3483, lejeunek@unhcr.org
  • Adrian Edwards, +41 79 557 9120, edwards@unhcr.org

For additional data and information on the Sahel emergency, visit http://data.unhcr.org/MaliSituation/regional.php, www.unhcr.org, and www.wfp.org.