WFP needs $11m to tackle looming food crisis in N’East, NEMA creates new camps for 6, 567 IDPs


THE World Food Programme (WFP) said Monday that it requires $11 million to tackle the looming food crisis in the north eastern part of Nigeria. The food crisis according to Elisabeth Byrs, who addressed a United Nations press conference in Geneva, is to take care of some 13,000 refugees in the Chadian Lac border.

   The refugees are from the Boko Haram ravaged north eastern part of Nigeria. She noted that already, some of the refugees live on difficult to reach small Islands on the Lake Chad, as the situation in North-Eastern Nigeria, at the Chadian Lac side border, remains tense and highly volatile. 

  “There were more than 13,000 refugees in the region according to UNHCR.  WFP rations of 159 tons had started today in the border region in Baga Sola.  WFP was planning a first round of distributions for 10 days to more than 7,800 refugees from Ngouboua in Nigeria, of whom 4.103 were new arrivals. WFP was able to respond to the first wave of refugees of 6, 250 persons within two days of their arrival, with an emergency ration of two days,” she told the press conference.

    She noted that the intervention of the WFP is aimed at easing the impact of the crisis on the host communities. “Prior to the crisis, the November 2014 emergency food security assessment showed that the areas within the Lac Region were the most food insecure: 32 per cent of the population was found to be food insecure while the global acute malnutrition rates were above 15 per cent – which was above the WHO critical threshold,” she explained.

    Adding to the food crisis, according to Byrs is the difficulty of exporting cattle and maize to Nigeria by cattlemen and farmers from the Lac region. The Boko Haram crisis, she said had affected trade in that route.        “The decrease of trade had also a negative impact on Kanem and Bar El Ghazal‘s regions, which had the highest level of food insecurity in Chad. Many of the refugees were currently located in several hard to reach small islands on Lake Chad.  In the coming weeks, the Government and humanitarian partners would relocate them on a voluntary basis to areas where they can be reached.  WFP urgently required over USD 11 million to meet the needs of the refugees,” she said.

  Meanwhile, Deputy Spokesman to the UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, while addressing newsmen last Friday, told journalists that $1.5 million will be needed to address the Ebola challenge in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the first six months of 2015.

   He credited the statement to Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and David Nabarro, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, adding that almost $500 million is already available and the appeal is now to fund the gap of $1 billion.

   He explained that the resources made available and spent during 2014 contributed to the decline in new cases of Ebola in the three most affected countries.  “Specific results include almost 2,000 beds providing people with care, 255 burial teams ensuring safe and dignified burials and 11,800 contact tracers identifying more and more contacts”, he said.

    However, the work is not yet over according to Haq.  ‘Our goal must be to get to zero cases and there is a long way to go, so continued financial and political support is needed.  There is no room for complacency”, he said.

     Even as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) awaits the deliveries of relief materials for distribution in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, the Agency has registered over 6, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from attacked Monguno town at Maimalari Military Barracks entry point on Monday.

    The registered IDPs, according to the North East Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Alhaji Mohammed Kanar in an interview yesterday in Maiduguri; said that the registration exercise could have been completed Sunday evening, but the 24-hour curfew forced the displaced persons to remain indoors at the entry point.

   His words: “The registration exercise could have been completed Sunday evening, but the curfew forced the displaced persons to remain indoors, until it was lifted today (Monday) by the military at 6am.

This has enabled us to screen and register all incoming displaced persons from Monguno, 145 kilometers from Maiduguri metropolis.”

  He said as the Agency awaits the deliveries of relief materials for distribution at the Magumeri Road Estate camp, drugs and potable water are also available for distribution yesterday (today).

  The drugs, according to him, are to attend to emergency cases of “trauma, exhaustion and dehydration” have displaced persons, because some of them had trekked for long distance, before reaching Maiduguri, the state capital for safety.

   “With the registration of additional IDPs, the Borno State government and Agency established a new resettlement camp at the Magumeri road Housing Estate. We now have 13 established camps that accommodated 114, 473 displaced persons from various attacked towns and villages in the Borno state.

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