By Asmau Ahmad
The United Nations has allocated $20 million to urgently ramp up the response to the alarming food security and nutrition crisis in the north-east of Nigeria.
UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq disclosed this at a news conference on Tuesday at UN headquarters in New York.
“With nine million dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and $11 million from the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund, we will support the Government-led response efforts across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
“Assistance includes ready-to-eat food, access to clean water, health care and agriculture support,” he said.
According to humanitarian partners, almost 700,000 children under five are likely to suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition this year in this region and more than half a million people may face emergency levels of food insecurity during the lean season from June to August.
Haq said that the emergency funding would help jumpstart the response, but humanitarian partners need more to prevent widespread hunger and malnutrition.
“The $1.3 billion humanitarian response plan for Nigeria is only 26 per cent funded,” he said.
Updating journalists on Sudan, the deputy spokesperson said the humanitarian community continued to deliver live saving support to the people.
He said that Tuesday, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had facilitated the movement of at least 388 trucks carrying life-saving assistance to various parts of the country.
Haq quoting the World Food Programme (WFP) says that the agency has reached more than one million people with emergency food assistance in the six weeks since it resumed operations in Sudan.
“This includes reaching more than 375,000 people in North, South, East and Central Darfur.
“People continue to seek refuge from the fighting in Sudan in neighbouring countries. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that more than 500,000 people have now fled across Sudan’s borders to escape the violence.
“You may have seen that, yesterday, donors announced more than 1.5 billion dollars in support of the humanitarian response in Sudan.
“In the region, during the high-level pledging event co-hosted by the UN, together with the Governments of Egypt, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the African Union and the European Union,” he said.