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Nearly half of all Nigeriens hungry

As severe droughts continue to plague parts of the Sahel region in Africa, almost half of Niger's population is currently hungry, IRIN reports.

According to the news outlet, the Nigerien government recently reached out to humanitarians for food security assistance for six million people who do not have access to nutritional items. Officials report that the country is facing a grain shortfall of 692,501 tons, and droughts are set to continue.

"In our village, some people have been left with just seven bundles [of grain], whereas previously nearly 700 could be harvested," Adamou Talba, a religious teacher in the village of Boukanda, told the publication.

The Early Warning System program was put in place by the government in an effort to help assess who needs the most assistance right away. The group identified three main areas of concern right now - the town of Tillabery, which has a grain shortfall of 164,146 tons, Agadez, which has a shortfall of 123, 576 tons, and Diffa, which is suffering a 68,115 grain shortfall.

President Mahamadou Issoufou reached out for international aid in September of 2011, after realizing that the people of his country would be in trouble with continued droughts.

According to the source, combined efforts from donors worldwide has given the nation $229 million to work with as they battle malnutrition. 
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