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Niger : The Mangaize Camp

Today in Niger, 400.000 children are at risk of dying from Malnutrition. Endemic poverty, an out of control population growth and severe draught are affecting this sub-Saharan country, on the verge of a major health catastrophe. Also this precarious situation is made worse by the geo political instability of its neighbouring country: Chad, Libya and Mali.

The camp of Mangaize, two hours away by road from Niamey, is already refuge to nearly 3000 people, of whom many are children suffering from malnutrition. Fleeing the Malian rebellion that rife in the neighbouring frontier area, families have left everything behind to find themselves totally helpless before the risk of starvation. The camp – made of makeshift tents – spreads out on the edge of the village of Mangaize, where a few trees remain. Under canvas sheet, families are waiting to be looked after by NGOs.

In the Niamey's region, the effects of the drought are starting to show. Everyday, malnourished children and mothers are welcomed in the Health and Care Centre of the Airport 1 neighbourhood, to be given care and advices on nutritional solutions.

Michael Zumstein and Erik Orsenna; writer and member of the French Academy and member of the sponsorship committee of UNICEF, travelled to the Mangaize camp for Le Monde in order to testify on the situation.

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