24.8m Nigerians facing acute hunger in 26 states – UN

THE United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has raised the alarm that one out of eight Nigerians, representing 24.8 million people, are facing acute hunger this year.

This is contained in a statement released on Saturday, April 29 in Abuja by the WFP head of Communications, Advocacy and Marketing in Nigeria, Chi Lael.

Lael disclosed that the agency, to address the urgent needs of those affected by conflict and in dire need of humanitarian aid in the North-east, was ramping up efforts to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to 2.1 million people.

Part of the statement read, “WFP is gravely concerned that years of armed conflict in North-east Nigeria is driving hunger and malnutrition, with millions in need of life-saving assistance and facing the risk of famine.”

The WFP projected that Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states would witness severe hunger during the peak of the lean season between June and August 2023, with 4.3 million people being affected, and almost 600,000 on the brink of catastrophe. 

The situation is expected to result in emergency levels of food insecurity, with alarmingly high rates of acute malnutrition and mortality, unless there is a consistent increase in humanitarian assistance.

The agency lamented that the ongoing conflict had affected the nutrition status of children on several fronts, and projecting that two million children in the Northeast region would suffer from acute malnutrition.

It stated, “With more than 4.3 million people also in need of food assistance in North-west Nigeria, resources for the North-east have been increasingly squeezed.

“A total of 24.8 million people, or one out of 8 individuals, are experiencing acute hunger this year in Nigeria’s 26 states and the capital, Abuja. The more people in need of urgent food assistance who go unassisted, the greater the risk of starvation and death among the most vulnerable, and the more people will be forced to resort to coping mechanisms such as survival sex, selling possessions and child labour.

“A lack of assistance also increases the risk of youth recruitment into armed groups, as well as displaced populations returning to inaccessible areas where they are beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance and other social services.”

The WFP said chronic insecurity was preventing many people in the North-east from growing the needed food or earning an income.






     

     

    In the last year, it added, the conflict had left households unable to leave their homes due to an increase in movement restrictions, killings, and abduction of civilians, particularly in Borno state where the violence was concentrated.

    Thousands of people were said to be left with only one month’s food supply as households in conflict-affected areas rely on minimum income to purchase food. 

    “The hunger crisis worsens an already bad situation for many families struggling with economic hardship, surging inflation, impacts of Russia-Ukraine war, the currency redesign policy, slow post-COVID-19 recovery, and unprecedented floods in 2022 which limited agricultural production and overall food availability,” the agency said.

    The WFP disclosed it requires the sum of $190 million over the next six months to provide life-saving food and nutrition assistance to the most vulnerable people.



    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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