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"By reducing the risk of an epidemic, we are helping to preserve the main source of income of communities that are primarily dependent on livestock farming," said Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the ICRC delegation in Niger.
In these arid zones, stricken by conflict in the past and still suffering a persistent lack of security and the effects of conflict situations in certain neighbouring countries, the economic balance remains fragile. Many herders and their livestock now in the TillabÃ©ry area were pushed by the conflict and recent intercommunal tensions in Mali to cross the border into Niger, which has put further pressure on resources there.
"These areas are also subject to adverse weather conditions. This year, the rains have again been inadequate, which has increased the strain on grazing and water resources," said Mathew Kenyanjui, head of the ICRC's veterinary activities in Niger. "The vaccinations will protect the health, and therefore the market value, of the animals, which will give herders the option of bartering them for grain."
This is the third consecutive year that such a campaign has been undertaken in Niger. The ICRC's support consists in providing medicines, supplies, veterinary equipment and training, paying the allowances of 155 animal-health workers, and making available some 50 vehicles and fuel.
The operation extends into other nearby countries, such as Mali and Burkina Faso. In 2013, it reached more than four million animals in Niger, 3.5 million in northern Mali and nearly 200,000 in northern Burkina Faso.
For further information, please contact:Oumarou Daddy Rabiou, ICRC Niamey, tel: +227 96 66 99 12Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 49 or +41 79 244 64 05