Paris- France (PANA) -- The number of children with severe malnutrition being fed by the health NGO Medicins sans Frontieres in Maradi, south-eastern Niger is rising at an alarming rate, MSF revealed here Tuesday.
"In the villages that we visited, a child out of every five faces the risk of malnutrition.
Since mid-February, the number of children admitted each week has risen from 170 to nearly 250," MSF said in a new report issued in Paris.
"At national level, the early warning system in Niger, which monitors the food situation has already issued statistics that are very worrying.
We need to act fast, time is running out," MSF added.
Niger faces an acute shortage of cereals this year because of drought and an unprecedented locust invasion that destroyed more than 90 percent of sorghum, the staple in Tahoua and Maradi regions, where the locusts heavily affected in the country.
MSF called for rapid humanitarian assistance to Niger because the first harvest are only expected shortly before September due to delayed rains, which are only projected to start falling in May.
"Without rapid intervention, these children will lose further weight and be forced to leave the risk zone only to fall in the red zone of severe malnutrition," warned MSF, which assessed the disaster areas.
MSF handled more than 10,000 cases in Niger in 2004.