By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Dec. 1, 2022
The United Nations on Wednesday called for more resources to sustain and scale up humanitarian interventions in northern Nigeria.
UN spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, who made the call at a news conference in New York, said the humanitarian response plan for the north-east was currently less than 50 per cent funded.
“Our humanitarian colleagues in Nigeria are calling on the government and the donor community to urgently unlock resources to support children amid a deteriorating nutrition crisis.
“Nearly six million children under the age of five in the north of the country are estimated to suffer from acute malnutrition from May until April 2023.
“More than 512,000 pregnant and lactating women are also estimated to suffer from acute malnutrition,” he said.
In addition, Dujarric said more than 650,000 hectares of farmland were damaged in the recent flooding that impacted Nigeria.
“We and our partners are concerned that this will aggravate the situation,” he said.
The spokesperson said the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) would scale up the production and distribution of supplementary food powder to 10,000 households with funding from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
He said the FAO also planned to distribute food vouchers for 5,000 families, distribute poultry, goats and feed to over 8,000 households, and support 14,000 other households with dry season food production kits.
In a related development, Dujarric told journalists that the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, would attend some sessions at the 6th session of the African Union-UN annual conference in Addis Ababa on Thursday.
“In Addis [Ababa], he will also have an early morning meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and he will also meet the Federal President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde,” Dujarric said.
Also on Ethiopia, he said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children in Armed conflict, Virginia Gamba, on Wednesday commended the peace agreement brokered by the African Union.
“The peace agreement brokered by the African Union is a milestone that provides an important opportunity to prioritise the protection of children, including by incorporating their rights and needs in the mediation process and peace discussions,” he said.