COVID-19: UN agency to assist North-East Nigeria with $182m

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THE World Food Programme (WFP), an agency under the United Nations is seeking to mobilise  over $182 million needed to sustain aid in Nigeria’s North-east for the next six months.

   Disclosing this today, the UN agency’s national communications officer, Kelechi Onyemaobi, through the Agency’s Senior spokesperson, Elisabeth Byrs, stated that the funding is needed urgently for millions of people in Nigeria who have been severely hit by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, including conflict-hit communities “on life-support” in the North-east.

  “We are concerned by conflict-affected communities in northeast Nigeria (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe) who already face extreme hunger and who are especially vulnerable. They are on life-support and need assistance to survive.”

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  Report says, the step is geared towards cushioning the negative effects on vulnerable people in countries hit by conflicts and the coronavirus pandemic, as many humanitarian agencies across the globe are seeking more funding windows in order to return the situation back to normalcy in the area.

  According to source, the Body is the world’s largest humanitarian organisations saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

  Before now, the three aforementioned states of the northeastern region of the country have been plagued by a decade-long insurgency that has displaced millions of people, rendering them homeless, with properties worth billions of naira destroyed. Thousands have died in the conflict.

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According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “this region remains one of several most severe humanitarian crises in the world, with some 7.9 million people, especially women and children in need of urgent assistance today”. The WFP said,

  “That’s why WFP is distributing now two months’ worth of food and nutrition assistance in IDP camps and among vulnerable communities to ensure that people have enough food while they are on full or partial lockdown.” Mrs Byrs said,

  More than 3.8 million people mainly working in the informal sector are at the risk of losing their jobs amid rising hardship, “this could rise to 13 million if movement restrictions continue for a longer period.”

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She said almost 20 million (23 per cent of the labour force) are already out of work.

“In a country where about 90 million people  (46 per cent of the population) live on less than $2 a day, this is a real concern. The urban poor who depend on a daily wage to feed themselves and their families have been deeply hit by movement restrictions to contain the spread of the virus,” she said.

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