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4m northern Nigerians face severe food crisis as starving people now eat grass —UN

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4m northern Nigerians face severe food crisis as starving people now eat grass —UN

More than four million Nigerians will face severe food insecurity and hunger crisis in the North-East region in the coming season, according to the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale.

Schmale who was speaking at an advocacy event on food security and nutrition in North-East Nigeria held in Abuja on Monday, said the sum of $351 million was needed to provide humanitarian support and avert the expected food crisis in the region.

The UN coordinator gave an estimated figure of 8.4 million as the number of Nigerians who would need humanitarian support in the North-East, while another 4.1 million people in the region already facing severe food insecurity.

“Across North-East Nigeria today, 8.4 million people need humanitarian assistance. Alarmingly, almost half of these crisis-affected people, 4.1 million are expected to face the severe pain of food insecurity in the approaching lean season.

Read also: 7.7 million facing severe food crisis in South Sudan – UN

“In 2021, the gap between people in need and people supported by food and nutrition assistance was 1.8 million. Due to reduced funding, that number is projected to dramatically increase to 2.9 million this lean season.

“Unless resources are urgently mobilised, almost three million people in dire need of food and nutrition support will go unassisted. Without food assistance, desperation may compel extremely vulnerable people into transactional sex, child labour, and selling their few possessions.

“I have heard stories from last year’s lean season of people in the North-East eating grass to stay alive, and I fear the recurrence of this tragedy if we fail to act quickly,” Schmale said.

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