Nigeria, UN Want $306m to Feed 2.8 million Children, Others

May 15, 2024
school feeding in Kano NSIO

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

About $306 million is urgently needed by Nigeria and the United Nations to fast-track food assistance, nutrition supplies and services, clean water, healthcare, and protection support to people in severe need during the period.

A statement issued by the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) disclosed that about 2.8 million comprising children, pregnant and lactating women, older persons, and people living with disabilities will benefit from the gesture during a period when there is a lean season food security and nutrition crisis multisector plan.

The Nigerian government launched the appeal fund amid a deteriorating food security and nutrition crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) States this lean season.

In the BAY states, some 4.8 million people are estimated to be facing severe food insecurity, the highest levels in seven years, according to the Government-led Cadre Harmonisé analysis released in March this year.

This food and nutrition crisis, which has been compounded by soaring food prices, is primarily due to continued conflict and insecurity in the BAY states, alongside climate change impacts. It threatens to become catastrophic without immediate and coordinated intervention.

The prices of staple foods like beans and maize have increased by 300 to 400 per cent over the past year following the removal of the fuel subsidy and the depreciation of the naira. Inflation is outpacing the ability of families to cope, making essential food items unaffordable.

Speaking at the launch of the plan, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Zubaida Umar, said: “The mobilization of funding and resources to address this lean season food security and nutrition crisis envisaged in the north-eastern part of the country is a step in the right direction in complementing the federal government’s efforts to prevent the deaths of people as a result of malnutrition-related complications, adoption of negative coping mechanisms and other health-related issues among others.”

Announcing the release of $11 million from the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund to jumpstart the emergency response, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mohamed Malick Fall said, “I am confident that we have the capacity to address these increased needs in support of Government efforts, what we need now are resources. Joining hands together, pooling resources, to save lives and stop the suffering”.

“UNICEF is deeply concerned about the escalating food security and nutrition crisis in the BAY states. The alarming rise in severe acute malnutrition among children underscores the urgent need for immediate action.

“This year alone, we have seen around 120,000 admissions for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition with complications, far exceeding our estimated target of 90,000.

“We must ensure that lifesaving nutrition commodities reach every child in need. This is not just a call to action; it is a race against time to save lives and protect the future of millions of vulnerable children,” said Dr Rownak Khan, the Acting Representative of UNICEF Nigeria.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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