THOUSANDS of families are still in desperate need of help as the refugee crisis in the Sahel continues, reports children's charity Plan International.
Hundreds of thousands of people fled Mali last year when fighting broke out between government forces and rebels.
Many have remained in neighbouring states despite recent presidential elections signaling greater stability ahead.
Plan International manages the Tabarey Barey camp in Niger, where it has distributed more than 157 tonnes of food, helping 9,000 people.
But security continues to be an issue in the Sahel region, with terror threats posing extra challenges to the humanitarian response.
Travel to refugee camps was suspended over the weekend following reports of an imminent terrorist attack.
"Despite an improving situation in Mali itself, the refugee crisis in Niger continues, with thousands of people in real need of assistance," says Mamoudou Madougou, Plan's emergency response manager in Niger.
"Plan's goal is to ensure that refugee families have access to basic needs including education and child protection activities."
A feeding programme at the camp has provided three meals a day for more than a thousand children.
Plan is also supporting and monitoring 23 health centres and two hospitals which are caring for malnourished children.
"Children face unique challenges living in refugee camps where there are greater risks to their emotional and physical well-being.
"In Niger, we are running schools and child-friendly spaces benefitting hundreds of refugee children," adds Mr Madougou.
For more information on Plan's work or to make a donation call 0800 526 848 or visit www.plan-uk.org
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