YATAKALA, Niger– When the first of three recent droughts hit Niger in 2005, a non-governmental organization called Samaritan’s Purse began working with Djerma and Songhay villagers living near the border with Mali.
This corner of the African nation is among the most marginal farmland in the Sahel region. During the dry season, the sandy soil around villages such as Kalmane and Yatakala is hard to distinguish from the Sahara Desert sands just a few kilometres to the north.
At first, Samaritan’s Purse helped out the villagers by distributing nutritional supplements. When another drought hit in 2009, the NGO began supplying livestock and gardening education to improve food security.
The most recent drought, in 2011, has left the area in need of actual food aid, which has already started flowing.
But there’s a new wrinkle to the relief effort in this corner of the country: A coup and civil war has…
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