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UN allocates $20 million to scale up emergency response in north-east Nigeria

In support of Government efforts, some $9 million in CERF funding and a complementary $11 million NHF allocation will go towards a coordinated multi-sectoral response aimed at preventing a deterioration to famine or famine-like conditions

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NEW YORK, United States of America, June 20, 2023/ — The United Nations has allocated US$20 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) to urgently ramp up the humanitarian response to the worsening food security and nutrition crisis in north-east Nigeria. In support of Government efforts, some $9 million in CERF funding and a complementary $11 million NHF allocation will go towards a coordinated multi-sectoral response aimed at preventing a deterioration to famine or famine-like conditions.

Almost 700,000 children under five are likely to suffer from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states in 2023. This is more than double the number of SAM cases in 2022 and four times the number of cases in 2021. More than half a million people in the BAY states are also projected to face emergency levels of food insecurity — one step away from famine, from June to August which is the peak of the lean season, according to the March 2023 Cadre Harmonisé analysis.

The lean season also coincides with the rainy season, when the incidence of acute watery diarrhoea, cholera, malaria and other diseases increases, aggravating the precarious situation of malnourished children.

“Extremely high rates of acute malnutrition and deaths are predicted unless there is a rapid and significant scale up of humanitarian assistance,” warned Mr. Matthias Schmale, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria. “Government, donors and the international community must make urgent funding available to protect the lives and future of vulnerable children in north-east Nigeria.”

The bulk of the CERF allocation, $6 million, will go to the World Food Programme for food security interventions (including food and voucher assistance) for 95,000 extremely food-insecure people in three garrison towns of Borno State. Some $2 million will go to the UN Children’s Fund for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition (including providing ready-to-eat therapeutic food and Tom Brown solutions (a nutrient-rich locally produced supplementary food). And $1million will go to the Food and Agriculture Organization for seeds, tools and other agricultural livelihood support to boost local production of nutritious foods to build resilience.

Most of the NHF funding ($11 million) will go towards improving access to clean water and sanitation hygiene, and nutrition (including reactivating, sustaining and scaling up the bed capacity at stabilization centres and scaling up outpatient therapeutic feeding programmes). The rest of the funding will go to healthcare (including the integrated management of childhood illnesses and complicated SAM cases), and to protection services with a focus on gender-based violence, child protection and mine action. The NHF aims to allocate 50 per cent of funding to eligible national partners on the frontlines.

The alarming food security and nutrition crisis is primarily the result of years of protracted conflict and insecurity which continue to prevent many people from growing the food they need or earning an income to procure food.

On 18 May, humanitarian organizations appealed for a prioritised $396 million of this year’s Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) appeal for a multisectoral response to the lean season food security and nutrition crisis. While the CERF and NHF funds will help jumpstart this response, combined they represent less than five per cent of the required funding.

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