A new report published by the FAO revealed 4.4 million people of northeastern Nigeria are likely to face acute food insecurity. Conflict-affected areas in the northeast may be at risk of reaching catastrophic food insecurity levels, warned the UN.
The report stated conflict to be the main factor resulting in acute hunger alongside economic shocks, including secondary impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and other natural hazard risks. Conflict provoked mass displacement of rural communities, with the number of Internally Displaced People (IDP) rising to 2.2 million people as of May 2021, which is 40,000 higher than November 2020.
“Displacement and loss of livelihoods from COVID-19 and a looming food insecurity and nutrition crisis is putting at high risk as many as 4.4 million people [who are] threatened to face acute hunger,” said Esty Sutyoko, deputy head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Nigeria.
Access to humanitarian assistance becomes constrained as a consequence of displacement.
“Families that rely on humanitarian assistance to survive are hanging by a thread. When we cannot reach them, that thread is cut, and the consequences are nothing short of catastrophic,” warned David Beasley, WFP Executive Director.
The northwest region observed a spike in violence and herder-farmer conflict which has so far resulted in the displacement of 70,000 people.
“The vast majority of those on the verge are farmers. Alongside food assistance, we must do all we can to help them resume food production themselves,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
To prevent the looming food shortage, the state government of Borno has commenced the reopening of farmlands to farmers with security said Babagana Zulum, the serving Governor of Borno state.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned 23 countries to be at the potential risk of further deterioration between the outlook period from August to November 2021.
Other hunger hotspots included in the 23 countries on the UN’s list are Angola, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, Sierra Leone along with Somalia, and Libreria, among others.
Ramsha Zubairi is a freelance writer. Her work focuses on issues related to the Middle East, history, and women. With a Master's degree in English literature, she is also a creative nonfiction writer, essayist, and short-story writer.