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WFP to provide emergency food, nutrition to 2.1m people affected by conflict

by Haruna Gimba
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By Asmau Ahmad

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said it will provide emergency food and nutrition to 2.1 million people affected by conflict and in dire need of humanitarian assistance. 

This is contained in a statement released on Saturday in Abuja by Chi Lael, Head of Communications, Advicacy and Marketing of the programme in Nigeria.

Chi expressed the programme’s concern that years of armed conflict in northeast Nigeria had contributed to hunger and malnutrition among people with millions in need of life-saving assistance and so much at risk of famine.

“The March Cadre Harmonise projects that 4.3 million people in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states face severe hunger during the peak of the lean season between June and August 2023.

“Almost 600,000 are on the brink of catastrophe. These people will face emergency levels of food insecurity with extremely high rates of acute malnutrition and mortality in the absence of sustained scale-up of humanitarian assistance. 

“Ongoing conflict has affected the nutrition status of children on several fronts.

“Two million children in the region are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition, and cases of severe acute malnutrition among children have quadrupled to 700,000. 

“More than 4.3 million people also in need of food assistance in northwest Nigeria, resources for the northeast, have been increasingly squeezed. 

“A total of 24.8 million people or 1 out of 8 individuals are experiencing acute hunger this year in Nigeria’s 26 states and the capital, Abuja,” he said.

Chi explained that the more people in need of urgent food assistance go unassisted, the greater risk of starvation and death among the most vulnerable, and that the more people would be forced to resort to coping mechanisms such as survival sex, selling possessions and child labour.

He added that lack of assistance increased the risk of youth recruitment into armed groups and displaced populations that returned to inaccessible areas, where they were beyond reach of humanitarian assistance and other social services.

“Chronic insecurity is preventing many people in the north-east from growing the food they need or earning an income.

“In the last year, conflict left households unable to leave their homes due to an increase in movement restrictions, killings and abduction of civilians, particularly in Borno, where the violence is concentrated. 

“Thousands of people are left with only one month’s food supply as households in conflict-affected areas rely on minimal income to purchase food. 

“The hunger crisis worsens already bad situation for many families struggling with economic hardship, surging inflation, impacts of Russia-Ukraine war, the currency redesign policy, slow post-COVID-19 recovery and unprecedented floods in 2022, which limited agricultural production and overall food availability.

“WFP requires U.S. 190 dollars million over the next six months to provide life-saving food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable people,” he said.

He, however, advised that if urgent action was not taken, funding gaps could mean that approximately four million people in the northeast would be without food assistance at the peak of the lean season.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. 

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