Extremely worried by the rising food insecurity in north-east Nigeria, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has released US$15 million emergency funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to prevent a slide into famine in the region.
The announcement follows findings released from the analysis carried out by Cadre Harmonisé, the food security analytical framework for Nigeria, which show that as many as 5.1 million people risk becoming critically food insecure in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, during the 2021 lean season period when farmers risk running out of food while awaiting their harvest.
The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of the UNOCHA, Mark Lowcock has attributed the continued insurgency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states along with the adverse socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, to the rising hunger level.
Mr.Lowcock strongly believes that humankind’s greatest success has been in consigning famine to history and in the face of socio-economic impacts of the pandemic which has added to food insecurity, famine must not be allowed to rear its ugly head again.
According to him, “No one should view a slide into famine as an inevitable side effect of this pandemic. If famine happens, it is because the world has allowed it to happen.”
Speaking on the food insecurity situation, Mr. Edward Kallon, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, while pointing out that the food insecurity situation in Nigeria isn’t at famine levels yet, stressed the need to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate further.
“In the past, we have been able to avert food insecurity deteriorating into a famine by working together, pooling our resources and scaling up our efforts…This funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund comes right on time to start scaling up these efforts and I appeal to Member States to provide the resources we urgently need”, Mr.Kallon urged.
To guard against famine globally, the United nations has released a total of US$100million of emergency funding to seven countries comprising Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, identified to be most at risk from a hunger epidemic fueled by conflict, economic decline, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.