The United Nations has allocated US$15 million to support humanitarian assistance in Nigeria’s North East.
A statement by the United Nations Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) on Thursday said the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief coordinator, Mr. Martins Griffiths, has allocated US$15 million emergency funding from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support urgently needed humanitarian assistance in north-east Nigeria.
The statement quoted the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (a.i) for Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale to have said that: “The food security and nutrition situation is deteriorating, with more and more families pushed towards vulnerability, and forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms including child labour and early marriage.”
He added that: “As desperation pushes extremely vulnerable people to the edge, food and nutrition assistance is critical for their survival.
“The $15 million CERF allocation comes right on time to respond to the most urgent needs of people at extreme risk as we appeal to Member States to provide the resources we urgently need.”
According to the statement, the CERF allocation will enable humanitarian agencies to improve and strengthen timely and coordinated access to appropriate food and cash aid to the most vulnerable in crisis-affected areas.
Schmale said: “Thanks to the support of humanitarian agencies and donors, a catastrophic food insecurity was averted in 2021. However, danger looms again for the people of north-east Nigeria if efforts are not sustained and the urgently needed resources are not made available, enabling to take immediate action for the people of north-east Nigeria.”
The statement revealed that the $15 million allocation to the humanitarian response in Nigeria is part of $100 million that the UN allocated to fight hunger in Africa and the Middle East, as the spill-over effects of the war in Ukraine threaten to push millions even closer to famine and exacerbate humanitarian needs.
Violence and conflict over the last 12 years have turned North East Nigeria into a prolonged and alarming humanitarian crisis which has displaced 2.2 million people.
According to the Cadre Harmonisé food and nutrition analysis published in March 2022, about 600,000 people are projected to be in an emergency situation, not knowing where their next meal will come from. They are among 4.1 million people projected to be food insecure in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, during the peak of the June to August 2022 lean season. This is a 19 per cent increase in the number of people in need of food security assistance since the October 2021 analysis, including an alarming 28 per cent increase in the number of people in the emergency category.
The statement further lamented that malnutrition among children continues to be increasingly threatening, and $351 million is urgently needed by May to deliver life-saving food security and nutrition assistance to the most affected people.
In total, the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria is seeking $1.1 billion to support 5.5 million people.
CERF is one of the fastest and most efficient mechanisms for providing emergency funding to people in need, through rapid allocations to new and deteriorating crises or where there’s shortage of funds. The fund pools contributions from a range of donors, and resources are allocated on strict life-saving criteria to help the most vulnerable. Over the past six months, CERF has allocated more than $170 million to address rising food insecurity in several countries, including those that will receive the new funding.