UN Appeals For Urgent Funding To Avert Catastrophic Hunger In Northeast Nigeria
The United Nations (UN) office in Nigeria on Thursday made an urgent appeal to raise USD 396 million is urgently needed to prevent widespread hunger and malnutrition in northeastern Nigeria from turning into a full-blown catastrophe, reported All Africa.
“We are ringing the alarm bell that there are people close to or dying (of hunger) right now in the northeast,” Matthias Schmale, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, said in Abuja while releasing the lean season food and nutrition crisis plan.
He said that more than half a million people are at risk of facing emergency levels of food insecurity with extremely high rates of acute malnutrition and cases of mortality if there is no urgent scale-up of humanitarian assistance in the country.
The UN has estimated that two million children under the age of five in Nigeria’s Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) states are likely to face wasting this year.
The UN humanitarian coordinator Schmale insisted that it is the most immediate and life-threatening form of malnutrition. He added that some 700,000 children are facing severe acute malnutrition risk and that means that they are eleven times more likely to die compared to children who are well-nourished. He said that the children need immediate assistance to survive.
According to the French medical charity, Doctors Without Borders, the number of weekly admissions of children last month is two to three times higher than previous highs reported during the past five years.
The UN claimed that the deepening food crisis and worrying malnutrition levels are the result of years of protracted conflict and insecurity, fuel and food inflation, a naira cash crisis earlier in the year, and climate shocks.
Notably, the security forces in northeastern Nigeria have been struggling hard to battle against Islamic extremist rebels who launched an insurgency in 2009. According to data collected by U.N. agencies in Nigeria, at least 35,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced as a result of the violence.