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UN envoy canvasses support for humanitarian needs in Nigeria

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan with agency report

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Matthias Schmale has canvassed for sustained support to meet the humanitarian needs in northeast Nigeria.

Schmale said this while answering questions from the UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York during a news conference on the humanitarian situation in Nigeria.

Schmale, who was in New York to attend Resident Coordinators retreat told NAN that he had earlier visited Washington DC, where he discussed humanitarian, development and peacebuilding challenges and opportunities.

“I’ve spent two days with my colleague in United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA) Washington to try and drum up support to get funding gap closed.

“But you know, we are part of the global trend in Nigeria of increasing humanitarian needs with funding not holding up to that,” he said.

He also met with officials from the U.S. State Department, USAID, the U.S.

Institute of Peace, civil society and the media as well as senior staffers from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

He highlighted the troubling humanitarian situation in North-eastern Nigeria and the importance of international support and strengthened partnerships to address humanitarian needs, accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and combat violent extremism.

According to him, the organisation will soon launch its Humanitarian Response Plan 2024 and it will be realistic about funding trends and prioritise its support to the vulnerable girls and women.

“We’re trying to make sure that 700,000 malnourished children severely malnourished kids get the food they need and the protection they need.

“We’re trying to prioritise and use the resources; we hope we will get next year as effectively and efficiently as we can.

“There’s no doubt that neither this year nor we anticipate next year we will get what we want which really forces us into difficult decisions, and some people will be left out.’’

The UN official said humanitarian response plan funding had remained low, citing the Humanitarian Response Plan 2023, saying, it remains significantly low at roughly a bit over a third of what the organisation needed.

Schmale said that the situation in northeast Nigeria was far from over, nothing the presence of a continued non-international armed conflict that is affecting a lot of people.

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