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Minister for Trade and Development Costello authorises airlift of emergency supplies for Niger

Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, has announced that Ireland has provided almost 36 tonnes of emergency shelter supplies to assist thousands of families affected by the floods in Niger.

Torrential rainfall has resulted in heavy flooding all over the country. The floods have affected almost 20,000 households, with almost 8,500 families forced to abandon their homes.

Minister Costello said:

“I have approved an airlift of 4,500 blankets, 2,100 mosquito nets, 250 tarpaulins, and 150 tents from Ireland’s pre-positioned stocks in the UN Humanitarian Depot in Accra, in Ghana. These essential supplies will allow our partner organisation in Niger, Plan Ireland, to provide emergency assistance to those who have been forced to relocate as a result of the flooding. These supplies were delivered today, October 1. ”

Niger has already been affected by a severe food crisis in 2009/10 and again in 2011, which caused a drop in incomes, substantial loss of livestock and other assets, increased levels of household indebtedness, and reduced farming families’ access to nutrition.

1 October 2013

Press Office

For further information contact Irish Aid Press office, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 01-408 2660

Note to editors:

· Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

· Niger has a population of approximately 13 million and is ranked 186 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index.

· 2012 saw cholera outbreaks, floods, a 33% increase in malaria cases and the influx of some 60,000 refugees from northern Mali. Recent flooding has affected at least 300,000 people and killed 91 people, across the Sahel region, particularly, Niger. Given the impoverishment of vulnerable households as a result of continued high prices, nutritional needs remain extremely high in 2013.

· The heavy rainfall that has inundated the region since August is likely to swell the Niger River during the months of November and December and could contribute to a new flood situation in the regions of Niamey, Dosso and Tillabéry in the southwest of the country.

· Over the past two years, Ireland has provided over €2.8 Million in emergency humanitarian funding to Niger. The main focus of our humanitarian response has been on the ongoing threats to food security and livelihoods experienced in a large number of areas across the country. Irish Aid supported partners in the country include the NGOs Concern, Goal, MSF, Plan and Christian Aid. In addition, Irish Aid provided 35 tonnes of emergency relief items in August 2012 for distribution by Plan Ireland.