Niger. International Rescue Children's Mothers Index 2012
placed Niger in last place among 165 countries. Niger is the
worst country in the world for mothers, according to Save
the Children's review of women's and children's living
conditions. Nearly a third of Niger's children are
malnourished and every seventh child dies before the age of
5. Girls in Niger receive an average of four years of
schooling and live 56 years.
After the growth due to drought and pests, the famine
became acute during the year. The crisis was exacerbated by
the violence in the northern part of neighboring Nigeria,
from which many fled to Niger. The afflicted country also
received many refugees from the civil disputes in
countryaah, a large part of the Sahel region was starved, but in
Niger the situation was the worst. Niger is one of the
world's poorest countries with chronically severe
malnutrition among children, making resistance during famine
periods weak. In March, it was estimated that more than six
million people in Niger needed immediate help. The severe
mist growth meant that the hunger period fell earlier than
usual, and the time without food supply until the next
harvest in October became longer.
But outsiders believe that Niger's new democratic
government (since 2011) has been quick to detect the first
signs that this year's food crisis would be particularly
difficult. The cooperation between the Nigerian authorities
and international donors was described as excellent.
According to the head of the UN Food Program in Niger, this
could lead to long-term change in the country.
In March, Niger arrested a former Tuareg cleric leader
who was close associate of Libya's overthrown dictator
Muammar al-Khadaffi. He was suspected of smuggling weapons
and explosives from Libya. The rebel leader led a rebellion
among Tuar rule in 2007–09 against the Niger regime but then
became one of al-Khadaffi's confidants.
The Tuaregrebel's advance in Mali during the year created
concern in Niger, where the northern part of the country was
largely lawless with the advance of armed Islamists or
bandit gangs. In August, the EU announced that it would
support Nigerian security forces to fight terror and
organized crime by assisting international experts in
training police and national security.
Floods in the Niger River in August caused at least 65
casualties and forced about 125,000 people to flee their
homes. The country's president appealed for international
help. The capital Niamey was also hit when the river banks
erupted. According to some data, the river reached levels
not seen since the 1920s.