The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations, has said that more than $182 million is needed to sustain lifesaving aid to Nigeria over the next six months.
“We are concerned by conflict-affected communities in northeast Nigeria who already face extreme hunger and who are especially vulnerable. They are on life-support and need assistance to survive,” said WFP Senior Spokesperson, Elisabeth Byrs, in reference to Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
Help and funding are needed urgently for millions of people in Nigeria who have been hit severely by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, including conflict-hit communities “on life-support” in the north-east, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.
The three so-called BAY states, have been plagued by a decade-long insurgency that has spilled over into the Lake Chad region.
It remains among the most severe humanitarian crises in the world, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, with some 7.9 million mainly women and children in need of urgent assistance today.
“That’s why WFP is distributing now two months’ worth of food and nutrition assistance in IDP camps and among vulnerable communities to ensure that people have enough food while they are on full or partial lockdown”, Ms Byrs said, outlining plans to help a total of 1.8 million people there.
Needs are great nationally too, the UN agency has warned, linked to a steep drop in international oil prices – Nigeria’s major export commodity – since the outbreak of the virus.
To date, latest World Health Organization, WHO, data indicates that the country has seen more than 12,800 confirmed cases of new coronavirus and over 360 deaths linked to the respiratory disease.
More than 3.8 million people mainly working in the informal sector, face losing their jobs amid rising hardship, Ms. Byrs said, and this could rise to 13 million if movement restrictions continue for a longer period.
“This would add to the almost 20 million (23 per cent of the labour force) already out of work,” the WFP spokesperson said.
“In a country where about 90 million people 46 per cent of the population – live on less than $2 a day, this is a real concern”, Ms. Byrs continued. “The urban poor who depend on a daily wage to feed themselves and their families have been very hit by movement restrictions to contain the spread of the virus.”