Malnutrition Crisis In The North East Can Be Deadly – UNICEF

By Hassan Zaggi

The Executive Director of the United Nations Chil­dren’s Fund (UNICEF), Anthony Lake, has warned that if urgent measures are not taken to salvage the malnutrition crisis in the north eastern part of Ni­geria, it will soon become a ca­tastrophe.
He stated this in a statement yesterday.
There’s not much left of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls two years ago. (STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
“What is already a crisis can become a catastrophe,” he warned.
Lake, however, noted that his organization together with the World Food Programme and other partners are “making a difference in the areas we can reach.
“ With the World Food Pro­gramme and other partners, we are treating acutely malnour­ished children. We are vaccinat­ing children against measles and polio. We are providing safe wa­ter and sanitation services.”
He, however, lamented that: “But this is nowhere close to enough.”
According to Lake: “In the three worst-affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, farming has been disrupted and crops destroyed, food reserves depleted and often pillaged, and livestock killed or abandoned.
“In Borno, where the fighting has been most brutal, 75 per cent of the water and sanitation infra­structure and 30 per cent of all health facilities have been either destroyed, looted or damaged. “The impact on children is devastating.”
He further said: “We estimate that 400,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition over the next year in the three affected states. If they do not re­ceive the treatment they need, 1 in 5 of these children will die. Cases of diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia are on the rise, fur­ther endangering children’s lives.
“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.
“Without adequate resourc­es and without safe access, we and our partners will be unable to reach children whose lives are at imminent risk.”

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