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No less than 7.8 million Nigerians are in need of life-saving assistance, the United Nations has said. Eve Sabbagh, head of public information unit, UN office for coordination of humanitarian affairs in Nigeria, who made the disclosure while addressing reporters on Tuesday, said the coronavirus pandemic had worsened the situation of hunger.
She added that there was an urgent need to support farmers across the country, saying that the number of those in need of life-saving assistance rose above 7.1 million in the middle of 2020, when compared to the figure at the end of 2019.
Said she: “It is extremely important to have funding in time to provide support to farmers during the planting season, as there is a risk to see more people facing hunger this year”.
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic reached Nigeria, humanitarian needs were already worsening and increased from 7.1 million people in need of urgent life-saving assistance in 2019 to 7.8 million people in 2020.
“UN and NGOs as well as government institutions had planned to step up their assistance in 2020. UN and partner NGOs needed $834 million to provide urgent aid to 5.9 million people.
“We are half-way through the year and so far only 15% of the funding has been received. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the economy and livelihoods, many more people need urgent assistance”.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had earlier warned that 50 million people are at risk of food crisis in West Africa.
The 2020 global report on food crises (GRFC) had also highlighted that about 5.1 million Nigerians are in immediate need of food assistance between March and May 2020.
Among those in need of the assistance include 1.4 million people in Borno, one million in Yobe and 500,000 in Adamawa.