Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said 400,000 children would suffer from severe acute malnutrition over next year in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
The UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake in a statement yesterday in New York, said brutal years of Boko Haram insurgency had left children severely malnourished and at risk of death.
Lake lamented that in the three worst-affected states, farming has been disrupted and crops destroyed, food reserves depleted and often pillaged, and livestock killed or abandoned.
He said in Borno, where fighting has been most brutal, 75 per cent of water and sanitation infrastructure and 30 per cent of all health facilities have been destroyed, looted or damaged.
According to him, if the children do not receive needed treatment, one in five will die from cases of diarrhoea, malaria or pneumonia which are on the rise.
“These figures represent only a fraction of the suffering. Large areas of Borno state are completely inaccessible to any kind of humanitarian assistance. We are extremely concerned about the children trapped in these areas.
“We are making a difference in the areas we can reach. With the World Food Programme and other partners, we are treating acutely malnourished children.”
He explained that UNICEF and other aid agencies and partners are vaccinating children against measles and polio and are providing safe water and sanitation services.
“But this is nowhere close to enough. Without adequate resources and without safe access, we and our partners will be unable to reach children whose lives are at imminent risk. What is already a crisis can become a catastrophe,” the UNICEF chief said.
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