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Humanitarian group raises alarm over looming hunger in Northeast

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• Says Three Million Children At Risk

A leading humanitarian organisation for children, Save the Children International (SCI) has raised alarm over a recent report by the United Nations that over 4.4 million people in the Northeast are on the brink of acute hunger.

The group said an estimated 2.3 million children and youths, including 700,000 under five, were going hungry in the region. 

Acting Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, Shannon Ward, in statement, yesterday, said: “The situation in the Northeast is extremely dire. Millions of children have already been through a decade of suffering, violence and humanitarian crisis. Thousands have died and many more struggling to survive. 

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“The reported loss of livelihoods, land and crop coupled with COVID-19, is beyond something the community can bear. We are extremely worried that this will lead to an even bigger food crisis in the Northeast.”

She urged both federal and state governments to support and protect farmers, so that they can work on their lands to feed their families and communities. She also solicited safe access for humanitarian workers, so as to reach those most in need.

Similarly, United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon, recently raised the alarm that the Northeast Region was on the brink of catastrophic food insecurity, due to insurgency, climate change and COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking during a three-day Economic Summit of the Joint Planning Board and National Council on Development Planning held at Government House, Maiduguri, he warned that unless this is urgently addressed, over 4.4 million people were at risk in the region.

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Kallon said: The 12-year conflict has killed over 36,000 people with the destruction of property worth $9.2b (N3.42t) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

“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 Harmonised food security assessment also said about 4.4 million people, including internally-displaced persons (IDPs), were to face critical food shortages.

Already, about 775,000 people are at extreme risk of catastrophic food insecurity. He described the looming hunger in the region: “As the worst outlook in four years.”

She said children, girls and women were more vulnerable at times of attack and displacement.

The group urged the state government and international community to commit more resources to addressing massive critical needs of displaced persons. 

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