'Immediate action' needed as millions in north-eastern Nigeria face food insecurity – UN

Displaced girl suffering from malnutrition in Kuya camp, Monsuno, Nigeria. Photo: UNHCR/Hélène Caux

24 November 2016 – Warning that ongoing unrest and rising inflation have left more than five million people in restive north-east Nigeria facing acute food insecurity, the United Nations agriculture agency today appealed for $25 million through May 2017 to support irrigated vegetable production and micro-gardening in the dry season, as well as rebuild livestock systems.

In a situation update, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the urgently needed funds would tackle food insecurity among returnee, internally displaced and host communities. In addition, the agency is seeking funds now to provide critical agricultural inputs to farmers in time for the 2017 main rainy season.

“We must act now to rapidly restore food security and combat severe hunger and malnutrition,” FAO said in the update, which notes that inflationary pressures in the national economy have pushed the prices of staple food crops extremely high across the three northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe; and these are expected to rise further, requiring “immediate intervention.”

In other news, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (October 2016) shows for the first time since August 2015, a total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) below two million – 97 per cent of whom declared that their displacement was due to the Boko Haram insurgency. One-quarter of these were displaced in 2016, with the majority displaced in 2014. Almost half of those surveyed noted food as their biggest unmet need.

Since August 2015, a total of 958 549 returnees from within and outside Nigeria have been recorded, with an increase of about 48 000 returnees since August 2016. This further emphasizes the need for increased attention towards sustainable agricultural livelihoods support to the returnee process, according to IOM.

In addition FAO reports that the security remains volatile, particularly in Borno state, as Boko Haram activities continue to impact the security situation in some areas. In Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, there are currently nine local government areas (LGAs) categorized as 'restricted' and 27 LGAs categorized as having 'limited' access due to a high level of insurgent activity.


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