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UN, NGOs appeal for $396m for urgent response to dire hunger, malnutrition in Nigeria’s N/East

By Reporter

UN, NGOs appeal for $396m for urgent response to dire hunger, malnutrition in Nigeria’s N/East

By Lizzy Okoji

May 18, 2023

Abuja, Nigeria - To prevent a widespread hunger and malnutrition crisis in north-east Nigeria from turning fully catastrophic, Three hundred and Ninety-Six million dollars is urgently needed to scale up humanitarian action in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states.

They noted that if additional funding is not received, humanitarian partners will only reach about 300,000 of the 4.3 million at-risk people in need of food assistance.

The joint appeal of the UN agencies and the NGOs was made available in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

According to the statement, more than half a million people may face emergency levels of food insecurity, with extremely high rates of acute malnutrition and cases of mortality if there is no rapid and significant scale up of humanitarian assistance.

It also noted that an estimated 2 million children under five in the three states are likely to face wasting this year, a situation the humanitarian response agencies describes as the most immediate and life-threatening form of malnutrition.

Some 700,000 children are also reported to be at risk of severe acute malnutrition – meaning that they are 11 times more likely to die compared to well-nourished children. They need immediate action to survive.

The deepening food crisis and worrying malnutrition levels they noted are the result of years of protracted conflict and insecurity which continue to prevent more than 2 million people from returning home.

A combination of fuel and food inflation, a naira cash crisis earlier in the year, and climate shocks (such as the record floods in Nigeria in 2022) are among factors that have worsened the crisis.

Mr. Matthias Schmale, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria stated that "I have seen firsthand the anguish of mothers fighting for the lives of their malnourished infants in our partner-run stabilisation centres. This is a situation no one should have to face.

“I have spoken with children who described going for days without eating enough. Mothers who said their children go to bed crying from hunger. Families struggling to feed their families as they have gone for months without receiving food assistance.”

With the current limited resources, nearly 3.4 million people will not be reached with agricultural livelihood support, including farming inputs such as fertilisers.

This funding gap is critical for agricultural livelihoods sustaining over 80 per cent of the vulnerable people across the BAY states. A critical part of addressing the food crisis is to enable people to grow their own food.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up its operations to assist 2.1 million people with emergency food and nutrition supplies while the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) plans to reach two million people with seed packages to secure cereal production for the upcoming harvest.

The Humanitarian Post

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