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4.5m people starving to death in Nigeria –UNICEF

4.5m people starving to death in Nigeria --UNICEF

The United Nations’ (UN) children’s agency, UNICEF, has raised the alarm that the food crisis that Nigeria has been faced with in the past two years, is made worse by the economic meltdown.

It cites the worst example from the situation in northeastern Borno State where one million people, mostly; young ones are in danger of extreme malnutrition, a situation it said calls for something urgent be done.

Speaking at the weekend, after reviewing what it called its observation of the food-crisis that the country has found itself following the displacement of more than 3.2 million from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, UNICEF lamented that the government had not been able to proffer solution without local and foreign donors.

“We haven’t found the right words yet to describe the magnitude of the problem,” Arjan de Wagt, UNICEF’s chief of nutrition in Nigeria, said in Abuja.

He said the world might not be aware of the situation in most camps of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), made worst by allegation of officials diverting food stuff meant for the IDPs.

“I have checked with my colleagues in New York and they are not aware of anywhere around the world people are in this kind of situation,” he said.

According to De Wagt, aid workers first began to gain access to parts of the Nigeria’s northeast in April as government forces pushed back Boko Haram Islamist militants from many of the places they had occupied, adding that every subsequent information coming from the area since then has only added to the grimness of the situation,

He said severely malnourished children had the risk of one in five dying, even as a polio outbreak had returned in Nigeria based on the same economic recession facing the country.

The UNICEF official said if nothing was done, cases of starvation in Ethiopia and Somalia, about five years ago, for vulnerable people such as children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers might be replicated in Nigeria.
By Emma Eke …..

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