The UN children’s fund has warned that nearly half a million kids may face starvation this year in northeast Nigeria, which is gripped by a devastating humanitarian crisis created by Boko Haram terrorist group. “What is already a crisis can become a catastrophe,” UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said on Tuesday.
UNICEF said in the report that around 400,000 children in Nigeria are at risk of famine, adding that 80,000 of the kids could die from hunger within months. The UN agency voiced alarm over the high number of hunger-related deaths in the town of Bama in Nigeria’s Borno State, a Boko Haram stronghold.
Large areas of the states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe are completely inaccessible and cannot be reached by aid agencies due to an insurgency by militants. People in the three states are reportedly in need of emergency food aid. The UNICEF official added that if the hunger-stricken children are not provided with proper treatment and sufficient food, one in five of them will die.
Reports indicate that the current humanitarian response is insufficient in Nigeria amid extreme levels of food insecurity. In November, Doctors Without Borders that thousands of kids already have lost their lives, including 10 percent to 25 percent of those admitted to its 110-bed Maiduguri health facility. Boko Haram’s terror activities, which began in 2009, have killed thousands of people and displaced some 2.6 million people.