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Food ration cuts loom for those affected by crisis in northeast Nigeria as famine hits highest level in five years

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Food ration cuts loom for those affected by crisis in northeast Nigeria as famine hits highest level in five years

We see funding for our vital humanitarian work dry up just as hunger peaks

ABUJA, Nigeria, October 15, 2021 / APO Group / –

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warns it may soon be forced to cut food rations for more than half a million women, men and children in northeastern Nigeria, unless urgent funding is secured to continue rescue operations in the event of a crisis. mounted in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

The cuts would come just as severe hunger peaks in the country in five years following years of conflict and insecurity – a situation that has been made worse by the socio-economic fallout from COVID-19, high food prices and limited food. supply. In addition, the number of internally displaced people topped two million in September 2021, reaching another grim milestone.

“Cutting rations means choosing who eats and who goes to bed hungry. We see funding for our vital humanitarian work drying up just as hunger is at its height, ”said Chris Nikoi, WFP Regional Director for West Africa following a recent visit to Nigeria. .

If at least US $ 55 million is not received in a matter of weeks, WFP will have no choice but to cut food rations and reduce the number of people it serves – where aid is already a priority. for the most vulnerable – from November.

“Our food aid is a lifeline for millions of people whose lives have been turned upside down by conflict and who have little to survive on. We must act now to save lives and avoid disruption to this lifeline, ”Nikoi added.

The number of internally displaced people – people forced to flee their homes in search of safety – in northeast Nigeria has steadily increased and has reached a new all-time high of more than 2 million in September 2021, while current food security analyzes show that 4.4 million people in northeast Nigeria do not know where their next meal will come from. In addition, over a million children suffer from malnutrition.

The continued attacks on communities by non-state armed groups, the harsh lean season conditions in an economy grappling with the fallout from COVID-19, high food prices and a sharp reduction in household purchasing power – all of this contributes to bleak prospects for the most vulnerable inhabitants of northeastern Nigeria.

Despite growing needs, WFP may soon be unable to continue with vital operations in conflict-ravaged northeast Nigeria. Without additional resources, the food aid agency will run out of funds for emergency food distribution and nutritional support by the end of October 2021.

“Cutting food aid will be a painful decision for humanitarians as it will negatively affect children, women and men uprooted from their homes as a result of the continuing violence,” said Edward Kallon, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria. “As we call on our partners to step up their support in response to growing needs, I would like to thank those who have supported us over the years by providing much-needed humanitarian aid. “

For five years, WFP has provided life-saving food and nutrition assistance to severely food insecure people, displaced families in camps and vulnerable people living in host communities through generous contributions from Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America and private donors.

This year, building on the continued generosity of donor partners, WFP has stepped up its response to address growing food insecurity and the impact of COVID-19, targeting 1.9 million internally displaced people in Nigeria with vital food aid. To support humanitarian operations in northeast Nigeria through March 2022, WFP urgently needs $ 197 million.

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