As people in north-eastern Nigeria grapple with a devastating food and nutrition crisis, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has committed US$10 million to save lives and provide urgent assistance to those who need it most . About 1.74 million children under the age of five are expected to be suffering from acute malnutrition in the Northeast in 2022. With a 34 percent year-on-year increase to date, the Northeast has had its highest burden of acute malnutrition since 2016 and , over 300,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
The consequences of inaction are a matter of life and death. If immediate action is not taken, more than five thousand children are expected to die. Those who survive will potentially suffer lifelong disabilities. Malnutrition puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of such infections, delays recovery, and causes developmental stagnation.
This CERF allocation will allow accelerated action to increase treatment capacity and early detection of acute malnutrition. Funds will be used for integrated prevention and treatment, including proven local solutions to improve the availability, affordability and/or accessibility of nutritious food that protect women and children from repeated episodes of acute malnutrition.
This CERF allocation is the latest in a concerted effort to address the food and nutrition crisis. In May 2022, CERF committed $15 million to support the catastrophic food insecurity and nutrition response. In September, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) provided two allocations of US$2.5 million and US$1 million to enable humanitarian actors to provide urgent food assistance in line with the US$351 million multi-sector plan of the agencies to help address the desperate food and nutrition situation.
These funds are being disbursed amid an alarming dry spell in which 4.1 million people in the North East are starving, according to the Cadre Harmonisé Food Security and Nutrition Assessment.
Despite these efforts, a massive funding gap remains. The nutrition sector has a lean season funding gap of $39 million, or 57 percent. According to Mr. Matthias Schmale, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, “We urgently need to close the funding gap to rapidly scale up the response and implement immediate life-saving efforts. Additional resources are needed today, not tomorrow, for the thousands of children trying to survive.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
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