The United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said that North-East Nigeria needs fresh $1 billion needed to address the Boko Haram-induced humanitarian crisis affecting more than six million people in 2021.
The UN agency stated on Wednesday that a combination of escalating conflict, displacement, and disruption has affected livelihoods coupled with COVID-19 restrictions leading to hunger for at least 5.1 million people.
The UN noted that this tally of displaced persons is the worst outlook in four years.
“Ongoing conflict continues to be the main driver of humanitarian needs in northeast Nigeria, where millions of people have been displaced. Longstanding insecurity and violence, compounded by climate change, and the impact of COVID-19 are increasing the vulnerability of close to nine million people.
“Close to two million people are internally displaced, while millions of people depend on humanitarian partners for basic services, and up to 5.1 million people are facing hunger in the lean season – the worst outlook in four years.
“The humanitarian community and the Government of Nigeria officially launched the north-east Nigeria Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021 earlier today. The plan requests US$1 billion to enable partners to provide critical services to the 6.4 million most vulnerable people – amongst a total of 8.7 million people in need of some form of humanitarian assistance in 2021,” UNOCHA said.
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, added, “The year 2021 marks the twelfth year of the conflict and the sixth year of the international community working together with the Government of Nigeria to provide humanitarian support.
“Last year was a challenging year for vulnerable people in north-east Nigeria. It was a year marked by a new reality, the COVID-19 pandemic. The socio-economic impact of the pandemic has already diminished the resilience of millions of people, increasing the fragility of those who were already extremely vulnerable.”
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, while speaking at the UN launch of the humanitarian response in Abuja, said, “The requirements for this 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan reflect a growing need, while we know that the available resources will very likely not be commensurate with those needs.
“We are facing additional challenges in terms of security and access for humanitarian partners, which is why we have developed the National Humanitarian Development Peace Framework.”
The UN noted that in 2020, only 55 per cent of the required funding for the Humanitarian Response Plan was secured notwithstanding the additional needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, recording the lowest funding level since the beginning of the joint response.
“Nevertheless, humanitarian partners reached over five million people with potentially lifesaving services despite funding shortfalls, security challenges and movement restrictions caused by the ongoing violence and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Malnutrition was averted for over two million children through their provision with fortified nutritious foods to address or prevent malnutrition, and two million people were reached with protection services, including sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, enhanced mine awareness, and support in addressing housing land and property concerns,” it said