UNICEF raises alarm over acute malnutrition in NE Nigeria

LAGOS, Sep 27 (XINHUA/APP):An estimated 440,000 children in three northeast states of Nigeria are at risk of malnutrition and require urgent humanitarian support, the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Friday.

The three worst-affected states are Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, Abigail Nyukuri, UNICEF nutrition specialist, said at media dialogue in Maiduguri, capital of restive Borno.

She said urgent attention is required to contain the situation, noting that the malnutrition situation has reached global emergency, hence the need for local and international attention to salvage the situation.

She said over 440, 000 children under the age of five, are expected to come face to face with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in the three states before the end of 2019. The specialist however said the figure was expected to drop to 258, 950, in 2020.

“Breakdown of figure for 2019 indicated that 11 percent of children in Borno suffer SAM, 13 percent in Yobe and six percent in Adamawa,” she added.

She said the problem of malnutrition was worsened by inability of local and international health and rescue workers to access some communities in Borno due to recent increase in activities of insurgents.

Nyukuri added that 4.4 billion naira(about 12 million U.S. dollars) was required to close the gap for the procurement of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for malnourished children.

She also said the RUTF was needed to be distributed to malnourished children in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.

Nigeria’s northeast region has been a stronghold of the extremist group Boko Haram. Over past months, the Nigerian government has launched several military operations to counter the terrorist threat.

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