The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale says in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, millions of people are facing the consequences of a deteriorating food security and nutrition crisis.
According to him, countless families are forced to make alarming sacrifices to survive, and many, particularly children, are at risk of not making it through the lean season.
In a statement made available by the Office For The Coordination Of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Schmale said “the latest food security assessments by UN shows that about 4.1 million people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, three of the states in north-eastern Nigeria, are at risk of severe food insecurity in this lean season, stressing that people’s resilience and coping mechanisms have been devastated by more than a decade of conflict in these states.
Adding that “as food insecurity worsens, so also the risk of malnutrition, in 2022, 1.74 million children under five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition across the north-east”.
” While visiting a nutrition stabilization center in the north-east I saw the haunting sight of a child on the brink of death, and it is a memory that continues to leave me troubled.”
“The food security situation is impacted by many factors, such as insecurity due to ongoing conflict, rising food prices and climate change.
“This is taking place in a region where people are already facing extreme vulnerabilities.”
“North-east Nigeria has struggled through 12 years of conflict and instability due to the violence of non-State armed groups like Boko Haram.
“This year alone about 8.4 million people need humanitarian assistance, of which about 80 per cent are women and children”.
“The violence has displaced more than 2.2 million people from their homes. Livelihoods, health services, education and other essential areas have been devastated, depriving millions of people of critical support and the capacity to provide for themselves and their families.
“People displaced by violence have few options. Many fled to garrison towns for safety, where going beyond the towns’ protective ditches to practice agriculture or collect firewood puts their lives at risk. Many vulnerable people have little choice but to resort to negative coping mechanisms to obtain food, such as survival sex, child marriages, begging, child labour or recruitment into armed groups.
“The humanitarian community is gravely concerned about the millions of people facing the risk of hunger this lean season and the sacrifices they will make to survive.
“Every effort must be made to ensure that life-saving programmes continue to deliver food security assistance and respond to acute malnutrition. Humanitarian and government actors are ready to scale up interventions, but funding is urgently needed.
“As part of the USD$1.1 billion required for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria, a $351 million multisector response has been developed to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.”