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ICRC triples its budget for Niger and Mali

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross is to increase its aid to Niger and Mali to help more than 100,000 people affected by drought and violence.

They are among millions hit by weather conditions and economic hardship.

The ICRC is asking donors for an additional SFr23 million ($21.5 million) to bring its aid for the two African countries to SFr36 million for the next eight months.

In Niger, the government believes that more than half the population is suffering from moderate to severe food shortage, an estimated eight million people, according to the ICRC.

“Rainfall in 2009 was irregular and approximately 70 per cent below the annual average,” said Nicolai Panke, head of ICRC operations in the two countries.

“Because of the weather conditions and the difficulty of moving about amid the violence, the harvest was poor and people have been running out of food, while cattle don’t have enough pasture.” and agencies

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