The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has raised the alarm that 4.3 million Nigerians in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States will likely face severe…
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has raised the alarm that 4.3 million Nigerians in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States will likely face severe hunger between June and August 2023.
The WFP which relied on the March Cadre Harmonisé, a unified tool for the consensual analysis of acute food and nutrition insecurity in the Sahel and West Africa Region, to make this projection, disclosed this in a statement at the weekend.
WFP is concerned that years of armed conflict in northeast Nigeria is driving hunger and malnutrition, with millions in need of life-saving assistance and facing the risk of famine.
“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 a sustained scale-up of humanitarian assistance,” the WFP added.
According to the UN agency, the ongoing conflict has affected the nutrition status of children on several fronts, adding that two million children in the Northeast region are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition.
“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”, it stressed.
The WFP warned that the more people in need of urgent food assistance who go unassisted, the greater the risk of starvation and death among the most vulnerable, and the more people will be forced to resort to coping mechanisms such as survival sex, selling possessions and child labour.
“A lack of assistance also increases the risk of youth recruitment into armed groups, as well as displaced populations returning to inaccessible areas where they are beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance and other social services,” according to the UN agency.
Chronic Insecurity is preventing many people in the Northeast from growing the food they need or earning an income.
In the last year, the conflict has 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 an already bad situation for many families struggling with economic hardship, surging inflation, impacts of the 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 said it requires US$190 million over the next six months to provide lifesaving food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable people.