‘Inflation, COVID-19 pandemic deny 4.4m people access to food’
UN requires N62.5bn to fight hunger in Northeast
The United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, has declared that increased food prices, climate change and COVID-19 pandemic have denied people access to food.
According to him, the high level of food insecurity has endangered and deteriorated living conditions of people with increased malnutrition among children.
Speaking at a three-day economic summit of the Joint Planning Board and National Council on Development Planning at the Government House, Maiduguri recently, he said: “Unless this is urgently addressed, over 4.4 million people are at risk in the Northeast.”
He warned that the region was on the brink of catastrophic food insecurity.
The 12-year conflict has claimed over 36,000 people with the destruction of property worth $9.2 billion (N3.42 trillion) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
He noted that in the insurgency-affected states, the outlook was dire with increased food and nutrition crises.
Kallon lamented: “Without sustained humanitarian assistance in the three states, millions of people will struggle to feed themselves during the 2021 lean season.”
The March 2021 Cardre Harmonzed food security assessment also stated that about 4.4 million people, including internally displaced persons, are to face critical food shortages.
Already, he said, about 775,000 people are at extreme risk of catastrophic food insecurity.
Kallon described the looming hunger in the region “as the worst outlook in four years.”
MEANWHILE, Kallon said $250 million (N62.5 billion) is required to address the food crisis in the northeast.
According to him, the UN and other partners operational plan set out the requirement of USD$250 million for immediate action.
“We desperately need the funding now to urgently save lives,” said Kallon.
According to him, the combination of conflict, COVID-19 pandemic, inflation and the impact of climate change was decimating livelihoods of the people.
He warned that if diseases like cholera and malaria were not prevented or controlled (though G-7 countries had recently given their commitment to assist and the UN would follow up for results), they might compound the situation in the zone.