The United Nations has disclosed that, as part of the 2022 humanitarian response plan for Nigeria, $351 million is urgently needed by May this year to deliver life saving food security and nutrition assistance to the most affected people in the north east.
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr Mathias Schmale stated this on Friday in Abuja at the joint advocacy event on food security and nutrition in the north east.
Schmale stated that more families have been pushed towards starvation which has forced them to resort to dangerous coping mechanisms to survive, as the food security and nutrition situation deteriorates.
He said: I have heard stories from last year’s lean season of people in the north east eating grass to survive and I fear the recurrence of this tragedy if we fail to act quickly.
“Without food assistance, desperation may compel extremely extremely vulnerable people into transactional sex, child labour and selling their few positions.
“As we take action, we must leverage the resilience of local communities and partners. I have been deeply inspired by the affected people I have met and their drive to care for themselves and their families.
“We must work in a way that enables us to move beyond emergency assistance and help people grow their own food”.
Explaining further, while noting that malnutrition is increasing and threatening the survival of an estimated 1.74 million children under five years old, levels of acute malnutrition in Borno and Yobe States are the highest recorded since 2016.
“Malnutrition hits the most vulnerable people hardest, further weakening their immune systems, making them more susceptible to treatable and preventable diseases that they do not have the strength to fight off. In this crucial moment, no effort can be spared to provide nutrition assistance and save lives”, Schmale noted.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, commended the past and present reports from the Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis, which is a unified tool for consensual analysis of acute food and nutrition insecurity in the Sahel and West African countries.
Umakhihe, who was represented by the Director, Procurement Unit, at the Ministry, Engr. Ubandoma Ularamu, said the CH analysis has contributed positively in Nigeria especially especially in food and nutrition security for planning and policy formulation strategy.
He however expressed the commitment of the ministry towards ensuring food and nutrition security in Nigeria.