CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-U.N. aid agencies sound alarm on Niger food

Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:34pm GMT

* Food aid needed urgently to fend off disaster

* U.N. chief hears appeals from Niger's hungry

* Uranium producer is one of world's poorest countries

(Corrects name of village in pars 4-6 to Dalli)

By George Fominyen

DALLI, Niger, April 27 (Reuters) - United Nations humanitarian agencies sounded the alarm on Tuesday about a growing food crisis in the West African state of Niger, but said it was too soon to talk of famine.

John Holmes, the U.N.'s top aid official, heard appeals for help from residents in Niger's arid east where many are on the move in search of food, but warned the U.N. had no miracle solution to the problem in one of the world's poorest countries.

Erratic rainfall last year devastated crops and livestock herds, leaving millions of people hungry in the uranium producer nation and the broader Sahel region.

In Dalli, more than 1,000 km (600 miles) southeast of Niger's capital, Niamey, many people have abandoned their homes in search of food, while others who remain are harvesting green fruits from usually inedible plants.   Continued...

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