One in five children in North East Nigeria to die this year
•UN, Partners Want Urgent Assistance
The Nigeria’s representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) Jean Gough has said that one in five children in the North East of Nigeria will die because of inability to access some of the community and inadequate assistance for those being reached.
Gough said: “We estimate that there will be almost a quarter of a million children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Borno this year. Unless we reach these children with treatment, one in five of them will die. We cannot allow that to happen.”
In a related development and worried by the high levels of severe malnutrition and desperate conditions in most Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in north-east Nigeria, United Nations (U.N.) agencies and partners have stepped up assistance even as they canvassed more action and humanitarian assistance.
Acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Munir Safieldin, and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria Representative, Jean Gough, in a joint statement signed by Chief of Communication, UNICEF, Doune Porter, said as new areas become accessible, more people in urgent need of assistance are being found. However, many localities in Borno State remain inaccessible owing to the ongoing violence and insecurity
As a result of this, United Nations agencies and partners in north-eastern Nigeria are reporting high levels of severe malnutrition and desperate conditions in areas that have recently opened up to humanitarian assistance.
Gough said: “We estimate that there will be almost a quarter of a million children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Borno this year.
“Unless we reach these children with treatment, one in five of them will die. We cannot allow that to happen.”
Gough said UNICEF is providing health and nutrition support, safe water and other services in the newly opened areas and IOM is providing household and other relief items. FAO is also providing food and will be distributing seeds and supporting farmers. World Food Programme (WFP), the Dangote Foundation and other partners are working to identify sustainable solutions to delivering food in conjunction with government partners.
Also, Safieldin stated that: “Improving security has enabled humanitarians to access areas that were previously cut off. The conditions we are seeing there are devastating. While the Nigerian government and humanitarian organizations have stepped up relief assistance, the situation in these areas requires a much faster and wider response.”
The conflict in north-eastern is said to have already displaced 2.4 million people, pushing food insecurity and malnutrition to emergency levels.
He added: “More than half a million people require immediate food assistance. Most of those in need are either displaced by the conflict or members of the communities hosting the displaced.