A report released by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), has named Nigeria among four countries most likely be affected by famine in 2017. Other countries which made it on the list include Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia.
In a report released Wednesday, the agency, which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), estimates that 70 million people across 45 countries will require emergency food assistance in 2017.
The report said persistent conflict, severe drought and economic instability as reasons for the famine, thus urging donors and implementing partners to allocate available financial and human resources to those areas where the most severe food insecurity is likely.
Part of the report read:
“Food insecurity during 2017 will be driven primarily by three factors. Most importantly, persistent conflict is disrupting livelihoods, limiting trade, and restricting humanitarian access across many regions, including the Lake Chad Basin, the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, the Great Lakes Region, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
“A second important driver is drought, especially those driven by the 2015/16 El Niño and the 2016/17 La Niña. In Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa, significantly below-average rainfall has sharply reduced crop harvests and severely limited the availability of water and pasture for livestock. In Central Asia, snowfall to date has also been below average, potentially limiting the water available for irrigated agriculture during 2017.
“Finally, economic instability, related to conflict, a decline in foreign reserves due to low global commodity prices, and associated currency depreciation have contributed to very high staple food prices in Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan, and Yemen.”
The United Nations had reported last September that Nigeria was on the brink of a famine, such like have never been seen anywhere before.
UN’s Assistant Secretary-General, Toby Lanzer, said nearly a quarter of a million children in Nigeria’s northeast are severely malnourished and millions more are starving in refugee camps that are too dangerous for aid agencies to reach.
He added that if Nigeria doesn’t get help fast, “we will see, I think, a famine unlike any we have ever seen anywhere”.
Nigeria is currently struggling economically as she is facing her worst recession for the first time in more than a decade. Inflation is at an 11-year high and oil, which makes up 70% of the government’s revenue, is still suffering from a slump.
The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, has also warned that tens of thousands of children are at risk of starving to death in Nigeria unless the world takes action.
Labeling it the world’s most under-funded humanitarian crisis, UNICEF said the terrorist insurgency of Boko Haram has left 400,000 children severely malnourished and millions more in desperate need of humanitarian assistance after they fled their homes.