An estimated 2.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the country of Niger, according to UNICEF. More than half of these people — 1.6 million — are children.
UNICEF says that it will need $59.4 million to provide humanitarian assistance to children through 2020. Humanitarian resources are currently being stretched thin due to a combination of factors.
Conflict and instability throughout the country have displaced thousands of civilians, and a crisis last July sent more than 35,000 people across the northern border from Nigeria into Niger. Threats of attacks have forced schools to close, with over 100 schools closing in January alone, according to a report from UNICEF.
Attacks from non-state armed groups have intensified in Niger over the past two years, the report said, and children are being abducted by these groups and used in their attacks.
Additionally, 380,000 children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, and 600,000 children are vulnerable to an epidemic, the report found.
Floods destroyed over 21,000 houses in 2019, and the children and caregivers from these houses have been left more vulnerable to waterborne diseases such as cholera. The UNICEF report predicts that flooding and other extreme weather patterns will get worse in the coming years, due in part to climate change.
Niger is in the Sahel region of Africa, where violence has risen dramatically, causing hunger and forcing children out of school in countries such as Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali.
Niger has the world’s eleventh-highest mortality rate for children under 5 years old, according to UNICEF. Nearly half of the country’s children live under the monetary poverty line.