Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • Putin calls for talks on 'statehood' for east Ukraine

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

Africa

'How will we survive? Only Allah knows'

Text by Melissa BELL

Latest update : 2010-06-12

FRANCE 24’s special correspondent in Niger, Melissa Bell, recounts her experiences reporting on the food crisis that has blighted the country.

Saturday June 12

About two hours north of Zinder, roughly at the place where the Sahel ends and the Sahara begins, lies the Touareg village of Boulfou Albourdatan. To get to it you have to leave the road that leads to Tanout and head across the sand. Which means that only donkeys, camels or 4x4s need apply. Luckily we had the latter.

The village is little more than a collection of straw huts, many abandoned, baking under a relentless sun and clouded in the dust that is constantly swept in from the desert.

Its chief, who has lived in the village all of his life, reckons he's over 80. He tells us it's the first time he's seen entire families get up and go. Times have never been so hard. The reserves of millet are long gone, the goats are too weak and too thin to be sold and the entire village has been reduced to eating a type of sour grain that grows wild in the bush but is normally considered unfit for human consumption.

As for the future, the villagers cannot even look foward to the next harvest. It is the planting season in these parts but the ground is so dusty that the fields around the village have been left empty. I ask the chief what the plan is, how will they all survive?

"Even I don't know", he says, "only Allah knows that".

Date created : 2010-06-12

COMMENT(S)