By Cecilia Ologunagba
UN and partners on Friday appealed for nearly US$400 million to prevent widespread hunger and malnutrition in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, in the north-east of the country.
Associate Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Ms Stephanie Tremblay, made the appeal at a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York.
“This funding will allow humanitarian organisations to swiftly expand food and nutrition assistance and provide clean water and sanitation, healthcare, protection and logistics.
“To kickstart the response, the UN has released a combined US$18 million.
“The Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, has allocated US$ 9 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and Humanitarian Coordinator, Matthias Schmale, will be disbursing a further US$ 9 million from the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund,’’ she said.
Tremblay, however, said that colleagues noted that this injection of funding accounts for less than 5 per cent of what humanitarian organisations require to address the most urgent food and nutrition needs.
“Without a rapid and significant scale up of humanitarian assistance, more than one million people may face emergency levels of food insecurity in the region.
“Two million children, under the age of five, are likely to face the most immediate and life-threatening form of malnutrition,’’ she said.
According to her, some 700,000 children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition which means they are 11 times more likely to die compared to well-nourished children.
“We will only be able to reach about 300,000 of the 4.3 million at-risk people in need of food assistance during the peak of the lean season. Another illustration of why funding is so important.’’ (NAN)