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Two million animals vaccinated in Niger

More than two million head of livestock belonging to almost 140,000 families in Niger have been treated in a major vaccination and deworming campaign

The animals were treated in the Agadez and Tillabéry areas of the north and west of Niger as part of a vaccination programme that began in January.

The programme, which has now ended, was organised by Niger's veterinary authorities with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross Society of Niger.

"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.

The economic balance remains fragile in these arid zones that have been stricken by conflict in the past and still suffer a persistent lack of security.

Many herders and their livestock now in the Tillabéry area were pushed by the conflict and 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," said Mathew Kenyanjui, head of the ICRC's veterinary activities in Niger.

"This year, the rains have again been inadequate, which has increased the strain on grazing and water resources.

"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 consisted of providing medicines, supplies, veterinary equipment and training. 

It also paid the allowances of 155 animal-health workers, and made available some 50 vehicles and fuel.