A CHARITY worker from West Didsbury has called for action to tackle child malnutrition and to distribute emergency relief in the impoverished African state, Niger.

Insiya Salam, 33, who works for Manchester-based charity Human Appeal, has called on the world to “not forget about the humanitarian crisis” following her recent trip to the country.

The landlocked West African country is one of the world’s poorest nations, ranked 188th out of 188 countries in the 2015 UN Human Development Index. Of the 20 million people living in Niger, 3.5 million – more than one in six – of whom are without food.

Manchester charity worker Niger
Insiya Salam (right) on her recent trip to impoverished Niger

Ms Salam, the Programmes Co-ordinator for the humanitarian aid charity, said:

“Niger faces internal issues such as high levels of food insecurity due to external shocks as a result of climate change, drought or conflict.

“The country also faces other issues such as high infant mortality rates, a weak education system, rapid population growth, and gender inequality.

“In addition to the recurrent shocks faced by the majority of the population which has eroded their resilience and left them vulnerable, there is also conflict related insecurity which exacerbates the situation in Niger.”

Over 40 per cent of children under 5 from Niger are chronically malnourished – with a total of 1.3 million children starving last year.

Niger child
Courtesy of Human Appeal

She added: “It is clear that the focus for Niger needs to be on vulnerable people; to target the issues of vulnerability and push towards rehabilitation and resilience.

“Human Appeal’s focus for Niger in 2016 will concentrate on supporting existing government and multi-sectoral efforts to tackle food insecurity and child malnutrition as well as continuing our emergency relief work in the regions facing insecurity.”

Human Appeal’s plan is to support district health offices in tackling child malnutrition, through training health and community workers, providing logistical support and distributing lifesaving supplies and materials to health centres and stabilisation centres for children suffering from severe malnutrition.

Othman Moqbel, the CEO of Human Appeal, commented on Insiya Salam’s work in Niger:

“Insiya’s analysis of the situation in Niger is as insightful as it is accurate. Hopefully, with Insiya leading the way, our work will help combat the crises crippling Niger.

“Unfortunately it seems, whilst the mainstream consciousness only has room for one disaster at a time, the reality is the world has no limit on the amount of suffering ongoing at any moment.

“Currently the focus is all on the crisis in Syria. But be under no illusion that the crisis in Syria is the only crises in the world.

“Whether that is in Niger, Bangladesh, Palestine, we are fighting disaster wherever and whenever we find it and we won’t stop until we beat adversity into extinction.”

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