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7.7m people in the northeast need help — 930,000 of them cannot be reached

 

Of the 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance this year in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, 930,000 are estimated to be in areas that are hard to reach for humanitarian organisations.

Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the launch of the 2018 humanitarian response plan for the North East.

“We will be working this year to advocate for improved access, and we are also aiming to obtain safety assurances for the delivery of aid in hard-to-reach areas,” Kallon said.

However, Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, insisted that no area in the North East is still being held by the insurgents.

“The difficulty in access has to do with physical access to the areas, as well as relative high risk of security,” Ahmed explained.

She said international humanitarian workers had been restricted to some areas but officials of the National Emergency Management Agency and some NGO workers had been going to all the areas in the North East.

“But because of the high standards of the requirements for the protection of the international humanitarian workers, there are some areas they are limited to,” Ahmed said.

$1.05 BILLION NEEDED IN 2018

At the launch of 2018 humanitarian response plan for North East in 2018, Kallon said humanitarian partners would require $1.05 billion to reach 6.1 million people with humanitarian assistance.

He said in the absence of a political solution, the crisis will continue through 2018.

“Despite these achievements, many challenges remain as the conflict and population movements continue,” Kallon said.

“Seven point seven [7.7] million people are in need of humanitarian assistance this year in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. These are people who have been displaced and are living in camps or host communities, people who have returned home to nothing, and people living in other areas that are hard to reach for humanitarians.

“Six point one [6.1] million of these people are being targeted for humanitarian assistance in the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan by 60 organisations, including UN agencies and international and national NGOs. This humanitarian assistance ranges from food, protection, water, shelter and sanitation, to medicine, education and agricultural support, and will be delivered to vulnerable women, children and men across the three states.”

Last year, the sum of $742 million was raised, representing a shortfall of 30 percent in the $1 billion that was needed to implement the 2017 humanitarian response plan.

Despite the funding shortfall, Kallon said the humanitarian community provided life-saving assistance to 5.6 million people last year.

“Several successes were achieved. Notably, the number of food insecure people was reduced from 5.1 million to 3.9 million,” he said.

“A cholera outbreak was contained through the innovative use of an oral cholera vaccine; 1.3 million farmers were assisted to help improve agricultural production. And thousands of children were supported to go to school, against all odds.”

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