UNICEF warned Tuesday that some 49,000 children will die of malnutrition in the militancy-riddled areas of northeastern Nigeria if they do not get treatment. Manuel Fontaine, regional director of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, called on charities and donors to respond quickly to avert a tragedy in the troubled Borno state.
“Some 134 children on average will die every day from causes linked to acute malnutrition if the response is not scaled up quickly,” media outlets quoted Fontaine as saying. Sources in the UN say the fund has received less than half of the USD 55.5 million it had appealed for earlier this year, and now the needs are even greater. Figures show that nearly a quarter of a million children are severely malnourished in Borno, a former stronghold of the Takfiri Boko Haram militants.
Most of the children are in areas that had been inaccessible before a multinational force liberated them from Boko Haram earlier this year. Meanwhile, the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym as the MSF, has warned of a “catastrophic humanitarian emergency” in the city of Bama, where, it said, 200 people died in June.
Boko Haram started its campaign of militancy in 2009 with the aim of toppling the central government in Nigeria. It has so far taken the lives of more than 20,000 people and forced over 2.7 million others from their homes. The group has pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorists operating mainly in Syria and Iraq.