Home Health & Food Over 4m people in north-east Nigeria at risk of severe food insecurity, UN says

Over 4m people in north-east Nigeria at risk of severe food insecurity, UN says

by James Davies

Oluwatobiloba Jaiyeola

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale, has said that 4.1 million individuals living in northeast Nigeria are at risk of severe food insecurity.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria further noted that after 12 years of struggling through conflict, people who reside in this part of Nigeria are already highly susceptible to malnutrition.

The UN official says the March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé is a device used to pinpoint areas that are at risk of food insecurity and malnutrition in the Sahel and West Africa and according to its predictions, 4.1 million people are expected to be food insecure, between June to September 2022.

In addition, the UN said, “Among them, almost 600,000 people are projected to be at emergency levels (Phase 4), which is characterised by large food consumption gaps reflected in very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality.

“This high-risk period, the lean season, overlaps with the rainy season, a time when children are left vulnerable to disease outbreaks, with weakened resistance if malnourished.

“Malnutrition among children grows increasingly dangerous in the north-east. Approximately 1.74 million children under five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition across the north-east in 2022.

“Of these, over 300,000 are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are at high risk of death if they do not receive urgent treatment,” it said.

According to Schmale, the decline in food security and nutrition situation is a concern that calls for urgent assistance.

He said, “This food insecurity is felt painfully across the region, especially as operations are so desperately in need of funding. In Yobe State, families have not received food assistance for up to eight months. Some people are left without food for days not knowing where their next meal will come from.”

In response to this, Schmale said, “A multi-sector response plan has been put in place by the UN and humanitarian partners to provide life-saving aid and prevent a potentially catastrophic food and nutrition situation.

“The plan requires $351 million, and is part of the overall request of $1.1 billion for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, which is severely under-funded at 19.6 per cent.”

“I cannot emphasise enough, that we need the resources today and not tomorrow,” he stressed.

 Schmale refers to the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan targeted to help 5.5 million individuals in need, as a two-track process.

He said, “The bulk of interventions focus on emergency assistance, but at the same time our approach aims to lift people out of vulnerable situations and reduce humanitarian need by increasingly focusing on durable solutions and building resilience where possible.”

Schmale further implored the international community to render immediate assistance that could help get aid to individuals most in need.

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