20 February 2018

Nigeria: Lake Chad - 7 Million People Struggling With Food Insecurity - Report

Photo: Wikipedia
Lake Chad basin map.

A 2017 report from the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Nigeria has pointed out that about 7 million people across the Lake Chad basin struggling with food insecurity need assistance.

The report also revealed that more than 1.8 million people in the north-east Nigeria are food insecure at emergency levels.

As humanitarian strategy focused on addressing immediate needs through life-saving assistance, the UN sought for concerted engagement of political, development and security organisations to help stabilize the region and create conducive conditions for people to survive and prosper.

The UN stated that farmers were unable to attend to their fields having missed harvests for three consecutive seasons adding that 11 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance within the region.

"Across the region, almost a third of the population is struck by food insecurity; malnutrition rates and related mortality are critically high"

The UN also noted that millions of people have limited or no access to basic services such as water, healthcare and education saying that humanitarian bodies significantly increased their response capacity in 2016.

"With constant growing needs, especially in north-eastern Nigeria, further operational scale-up and financial resources are urgently required to ensure adequate response".

This is even as the report stated that Boko Haram's attacks and military counter-offensives have displaced 2.3 million people saying that majority of the displaced are sheltered by communities who are among the world's most vulnerable.

"In north-eastern Nigeria alone, 1.8 million people are internally displaced and more than half of them are children".

It noted that about 200,000 people have fled across borders and lived as refugees in the neighbouring countries.

The report also disclosed that Lake Chad Basin is grappling with complex humanitarian emergency that have affected about 17 million people across North-eastern Nigeria, Cameroon's far North, Western Chad and South-east Niger.

It further emphasised that the combined impact of deepening insecurity, rapid population growth and severe vulnerability resulting from the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, poverty and underinvestment in social services has translated into recorded numbers of people in need of emergency relief.

While noting that over 2.3 million people have fled their homes, UN lamented that the protection strategy highlighted by governments of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger in the Abuja Action statement of June 2016 remained an ongoing challenge.

"Violence and insecurity have disrupted trade and markets while vital infrastructure such as health centres, schools, water pipelines, bridges and roads have been destroyed".

At the 22nd edition of Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Morocco, President Muhammad Buhari had called for an urgent need to resuscitate Lake Chad saying that the shrinking of the lake is currently affecting the lives and livelihood of more than 5 million people in the region.

He added that the shrinking contributed to insecurity in the region, including the emergence of Boko Haram.

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