ABOUT 1.6 million residents of Katsina State are suffering from hunger, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Katsina is the home state of Nigeria’s immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari.
UNICEF said out of the 1.6 million Katsina residents suffering from hunger, 63,000 are currently battling with acute food insecurity.
According to the organisation, these people are spread across the 34 local governments of the state.
The UNICEF Chief, Kano Field Office, Rahama Mohammed Farah, disclosed this on Tuesday, June 7, during an advocacy meeting with Governor Dikko Umar Radda at the Katsina State Government House.
Farah also noted that out of the state’s two million under-five children, 1.2 million were stunted, 574,200 moderately wasted, 250,151 severely wasted and 1,376,000 suffer from anaemia.
“1.6 million people in Katsina State are hungry, of which 63,000 are suffering from acute food insecurity. This is based on the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) which was done in 2021.”
However, Farah noted that UNICEF is ready to work with the state government to ensure that 1,637,197 children aged between six to 59 months receive two doses of vitamin A supplements to tackle malnutrition.
UNICEF had earlier identified Katsina as one of the states with the highest level of malnutrition.
Katsina, Buhari’s home state, is also the state with the second highest number of malnourished children in the North-West.
In 2022, UNICEF predicted that nearly 25 million Nigerians would risk acute hunger between June and August 2023 (lean season) if urgent action is not taken.
The organisation said the increase in the estimated number of people at risk of food insecurity is a result of insecurity, climate change, inflation and rising food prices. It noted that access to food has been affected by persistent violence.
“The food security and nutrition situation across Nigeria is deeply concerning. I have visited nutrition stabilisation centres filled with children fighting to stay alive. We must act now to ensure they and others get the lifesaving support they need,” the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, said.