WFP to provide relief for 2.1 million distressed Nigerians

The United Nations World Food Programme has disclosed that it will provide emergency food and nutrition to 2.1 million Nigerians affected by conflict and in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

According to a statement signed by WFP’s head of Communications, Advocacy and Marketing, Chi Lael, the UN body is deeply concerned about the impact of prolonged armed conflict in north-eastern Nigeria, which has resulted in hunger and malnutrition among millions of people.

He noted that many lives were at risk of famine and in need of urgent lifesaving assistance.

He said, “The March Cadre Harmonise projects showed that 4.3 million people in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states face severe hunger during the peak of the lean season between June and August 2023.

“Almost 600,000 are on the brink of catastrophe. These people will face emergency levels of food insecurity with extremely high rates of acute malnutrition and mortality in the absence of sustained scale-up of humanitarian assistance.”

He further explained that the ongoing conflict had affected the nutrition status of children on several fronts.

According to him, two million children in the region are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition, and cases of severe acute malnutrition among children have quadrupled to 700,000.

“More than 4.3 million people are also in need of food assistance in northwest Nigeria, resources for the Northeast have been increasingly squeezed.

“A total of 24.8 million people or one out of eight individuals are experiencing acute hunger this year in Nigeria’s 26 states and the capital, Abuja,” he said.

Lael added that the more people in need of urgent food assistance go unassisted, the greater risk of starvation and death among the most vulnerable.

He noted that more people may be forced to resort to coping mechanisms such as survival sex, selling possessions and child labour, adding that lack of assistance increased the risk of youth recruitment into armed groups and displaced populations that returned to inaccessible areas, where they are beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance and other social services.

Lael stressed that chronic insecurity was preventing many people in the northeast from growing the food they need or earning an income.

He further stated that last year, conflicts left households unable to leave their homes due to an increase in movement restrictions, killings, and abduction of civilians, particularly in Borno, where the violence was concentrated.

According to him, thousands of people are left with only one month’s food supply as households in conflict-affected areas rely on minimal income to purchase food.

He said, “The hunger crisis worsens already bad situation for many families struggling with economic hardship, surging inflation, impacts of Russia-Ukraine war, the currency redesign policy, slow post-COVID-19 recovery, and unprecedented floods in 2022, which limited agricultural production and overall food availability.”

He revealed that WFP required $190m over the next six months to provide life-saving food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable people.


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