His reporting took him to a village in southern Niger during the "hungry season," when food is scarce even during a good year. In 2004 a drought led to a longer, more intense hungry season than normal. Famine was causing sickness and malnutrition across the region. Children in southern Niger were especially vulnerable.
"We've all seen the pictures of children with bloated bellies from malnutrition, infants with unfocused eyes," Anderson reported. "But still, when you're here and you see the children up close—you know that you're going to see them—but nothing prepares you for it. You never get used to seeing a child die."
The Nobel-Prize winning organization Doctors Without Borders is treating the children. Ten-month-old Habu's "tiny body [is] riddled with infections from months of severe malnutrition," says Anderson. Two-year-old Rashidu suffers from "water in his tissues." Little Aminu's edema is causing his skin to literally peel off.