Food & Health

North East: $60m Funding Gap Puts 750,000 People At Risk – UNICEF


 Strong indications emerged Thursday, that additional $60 million is urgently needed to support more people in the crisis-ridden North-east Nigeria.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revised its humanitarian appeal for Nigeria from $55 million to $115 million to be able to assist an additional 750,000 people who can now be reached across conflict-affected areas in the Northeast of the country.

“Children’s lives are literally hanging by a thread,” Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, said Thursday.

“We are reaching new areas to provide critical humanitarian assistance, but we need greater international support to further scale up and reach all children in dire need.”

UNICEF emphasised that as new areas open up to humanitarian assistance, the true scale of the Boko Haram-related crisis and its impact on children is being revealed.

The insurgency in North-east Nigeria has mutated into a vast regional crisis confronting Nigeria and its three Lake Chad Basin neighbours – Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Insecurity has driven more than 187,000 Nigerians across the border, but incursions by Boko Haram insurgents into the surrounding countries have generated growing numbers of internally displaced people too. There are currently more than two million internally displaced persons in Nigeria.

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UNICEF stressed that an estimated 400,000 children under five would suffer from acute malnutrition in three states across North-east Nigeria this year.

More than four million people are facing severe food shortages and 65,000 people are living in famine-like conditions, mostly in Borno, the worst affected state.

The agency said that the destruction of whole towns and villages further complicates the response in North-east Nigeria. Some 60 per cent of health clinics have been destroyed partially or completely, and 75 per cent of water and sanitation facilities require rehabilitation in Borno State.

Moreover, nearly one million children are now displaced across the Northeast, a million are out of school and hundreds of thousands are psychologically affected from the horrors they have lived through, the agency said.

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