Humanitarian groups have warned that 2.3 million children and youth are facing hunger in northeast Nigeria, where an Islamist insurgency has forced farmers to flee their fields.
Islamist militants have intensified their attacks in northeast Nigeria in the past few months, killing dozens of soldiers and civilians as well as targeting farmers.
Since the conflict began more than 10 years ago, hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions have been displaced. Now, food inflation in Nigeria has left millions unable to sustain themselves and their families.
It is estimated that 700,000 children under the age of five are among the 2.3 million children affected, and Save the Children called on the government to protect farmers and allocate more resources to the region.
Save the Children’s acting country director for Nigeria, Shannon Ward, expressed concern that this could lead to an even more serious food crisis in the northeast of the country.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the region is on the brink of “catastrophic” food insecurity due to a combination of climate change, insecurity, and COVID-19.
U.N. official Edward Kallon. humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, said about 4.4 million people were at risk of critical food shortages and that the “growing threat of catastrophic food insecurity” was at its worst in five years.
Millions in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states would struggle to feed themselves without humanitarian assistance, according to Kallon.
Kallon said, “Parents are taking their children out of school so that they can beg,” adding, “Women have shared how they eat grass to survive.”