United Nations, Aug 7 | An estimated 4.4 million people, including internally displaced, face critical food shortages in northeast Nigeria, a UN spokesman said.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warns 775,000 of those people are at extreme risk of catastrophic food insecurity, Xinhua news agency quoted Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as saying.
“This is the worst outlook in four years. Without sustained funding, millions of people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states will struggle to feed themselves during the lean season due to conflict, Covid-19, high food prices and the effects of climate change,” Haq said.
The lean season across the Sahel is May to August, between harvests. This year, scarce rains reduced farmer’s production, leaving the population short of crops to carry them to the September harvest, according to the spokesman.
“Our colleagues tell us that 8.7 million people in Nigeria need urgent assistance, including 2.2 million displaced people,” he said.
The UN and humanitarian partners work with the government and local authorities to increase food distribution in high-risk areas.
But a surge in violence targeting aid workers and assets has made it difficult.
Boko Haram and other non-state actors are blamed for a resurgence in violence earlier this year.
The UN humanitarian response plan for Nigeria seeks just over $1 billion.
It is only one-third funded, OCHA said.