The famine threat, and Boko Haram is blocking the relief

Approximately 1.8 million people are on the brink of famine in north-eastern Nigeria, has alerted Thursday to the agency of theUN in charge of food aid. Despite this, the group’s jihadist Boko Haram is blocking the efforts of the organization to bring relief to a lot of them.

The “worst crisis” in 50 years

In total, more than 20 million people living in areas affected by the drought in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen are suffering from hunger or are at a high risk to suffer in what appears as “the worst crisis that we’ve seen for 50 years”.

“While all these areas are in difficulty, the north-east of Nigeria is the one that bothers us the most,” said Denise Brown, the coordinator of emergency situations within the world food programme (WFP).

In Nigeria, the PAM arrives to send a little aid to 1.2 million people “on the brink” of starvation, but desperately in need of funds. And there is still 600’000 other people at risk but unattainable near the borders with Niger and Chad “because of the ongoing conflict”.

A huge challenge

“This is not just a question of trucks blocked at the border. Boko Haram has spread between these countries, we have seen hundreds of thousands of people displaced from border areas of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, and millions in Nigeria (…). It has become a huge regional challenge,” added Ms. Brown.

To banish the spectre of famine in Nigeria, the WFP needs us $ 230 million ($225 million francs) from may to October. Ms. Brown acknowledged that the JLP was not prepared to intervene in Nigeria, “a country’s average income, the richest country in Africa”. “We went there for the first time a year ago. We were not expecting the level of human suffering that we have discovered”, she added.

The programme for the prevention of famine, the WFP is intended in particular to control all children aged 6 to 23 months and to ensure, with the help of Unicef, they receive a special diet.

But in Nigeria, the most small are not the only ones to suffer. “When we saw the level of malnutrition of the older children, we have extended the programme to all children up to 5 years, but due to a lack of resources, we had to backtrack”, and regretted Mrs Brown.

Warning in Somalia also

Somalia is also a concern. The number d?children treated in the nutrition centre of Baidoa, supported by the international Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has more than doubled compared to the same period?last year, which testifies to l?magnitude of the food needs in the country.

On l?across the country, the number of?children treated for malnutrition at the nutrition stabilization centres and clinics the ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent has increased 80% over the?last year (12’710 between January and April 2017, compared 7086 between January and April 2016).

“The humanitarian community must mobilize quickly to bring relief to the six million people who need assistance in Somalia, in particular, to 360’000 children suffering from acute malnutrition, and ensure that help reaches as quickly as possible to the most vulnerable, where is that?they are,” said Jordi Raich, head of the ICRC’s operations in Somalia. (tty/nxp)

Created: 19.05.2017, 15h43

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