Hunger worsens in Nigeria, spills over into Lake Chad Basin, FAO warns
As conflict and instability continue, the food security situation in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin is drastically deteriorating, the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) yesterday has alerted.
The organisation, therefore, called for swift and decisive action from the international community to protect of millions of families that depend on farming, livestock and fishing for their food and livelihoods.
The UN agency stated that with the next planting season starting in May and scarcity of animal fodder and water points during the lean season, it is crucial that crop seeds, tools and livestock support reach families urgently to limit the scope of the deepening crisis that now involves Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
FAO explained that some 7.1 million people are now severely food insecure across the four countries, stressing that among the figure are 515,000 children, who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, which, if untreated, can lead to permanent damage to a child’s development and even death.
FAO’s Director of Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Dominique Burgeon, in statement yesterday, said in the worst affected areas, famine continues to loom and millions would remain trapped in cycles of severe hunger, if farmers were not enabled to start cropping now.
Burgeon further explained that besides reducing hunger and boosting nutrition, investing in farmers also provides job opportunities that reduce migration and limit the potential for radicalisation of unemployed youths.
He noted that violence related to Boko Haram in the northeast has spilled over to parts of neighbouring countries in the Lake Chad Basin, specifically Cameroun’s Far North, Western Chad and Southeastern Niger, with devastating effects on food security and livelihoods.