By Abdulkareem Haruna
The United Nations has warned that famine and food crisis may befall the northeast subregion in the coming year if emergency measures are not deployed to salvage the situation.
This warning was embedded in a global humanitarian overview (GHO) released on Friday December, 2.
The GHO report indicated that the West and Central Africa region alone, have up to 69 million people that “are expected to need humanitarian assistance in 2023 amid concerns that north-east Nigeria and Burkina Faso, which are experiencing extreme hunger, could slip into famine if conditions worsen.”
The GHO maintained that in 2023, millions of vulnerable people in Nigeria and beyond will continue to face a daily struggle to survive.
Issues like violent conflict, the climate crisis, disease, and other risks, are putting the lives of the populace at risk.
The more than 13 years of Boko Haram conflict that ravaged most parts of the Lake Chad region still restrict millions of the population, especially Borno state, the epicenter of the violence, from going to cultivate their farms.
There have reports how the majority of the displaced locals who were recently returned to their communities remained restricted to the garrison towns with limited access to means of livelihood.
Though efforts have been made by both government and humanitarian aid organizations, to support farmers to cultivate lands in safe location, the output has only minimal impact on the overall food needs of the populace.
The UN GHO stated that “at least 8.3 million people in the northeast region are in need of assistance in 2023.
“The scale of suffering borne every day by women, men and children across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States remains undiminished; urgent action is needed now more than ever,” the report said.
To arrest the alarming situation and save 5.4 million lives from the devastating impacts of foreseen famine, the UN says the northeast region alone requires close to US$ 1.2 billion in the coming year.
Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale said the UN-OCHA will early next year, launch “the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Nigeria.”
He said the HRP will set out “detailed and prioritized plans for meeting the needs of affected people in north-east Nigeria, coordinated across United Nations agencies and NGO partners, as well as with the Government of Nigeria.”
“Through this HRP, which is a part of the GHO, the humanitarian community will take collective action to save people’s lives and protect the most vulnerable.
Concerns for aid workers safety
The GHO has also raised concerns about how the humanitarian community faces severe risks in delivering humanitarian assistance to the people in deep reach locations.percent security environment in north-east Nigeria is insecure and volatile and humanitarians must navigate threats to their personnel and assets,” the overview reads.
The report has earlier noted that “Humanitarian needs have increased dramatically partly because of the war in Ukraine and the impact of the climate crisis in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Looming famine in the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere, as unprecedented flooding in Pakistan and Nigeria, are some of the manifestations of climate change, requiring urgent action.
The UN projected that 339 million people across the world will need humanitarian assistance in 2023- “an increase of nearly 24 per cent from last year.”
Globally, the GHO said about $51.5 billion – 25 per cent more than in 2022 – will be required in 2023 “to assist the most vulnerable – 230 million people – in 69 countries, including in Nigeria.”