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NigeriaNigeria is one of many food-deficient countries in Africa, and its alarming hunger statistics are tied with high levels of conflict that have plagued the region surrounding Nigeria for years. A food crisis such as Nigeria’s causes distressing levels of stunting in children and is correlated with high rates of poverty. The following are the top 10 facts about hunger in Nigeria.

10 Eye-Opening Facts About Hunger in Nigeria

  1. One-third of children under five are stunted. This statistic is particularly concerning because it is twice the rate of Thailand and three times the rate of Tunisia. Stunting in children is a common symptom of undernourishment and can only be alleviated with a steady supply of adequate food.
  2. The insurgency in the country has led to a large number of displaced people without access to food. The reign of the extremist group, Boko Haram, has left 8.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Nigeria.
  3. On top of the rates of displacement, 5.1 million Nigerians are malnourished. Being on the move makes food sources even less reliable. Countries with high rates of political conflict typically have hunger issues that coincide.
  4. The amount of food insecure households is highest in the rural region of Borno in Nigeria. In Borno State, 64.2 percent of households are food insecure. In late July of 2017, the government of Nigeria declared a state of food and nutrition emergency in Borno.
  5. In the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe there were 400,000 children under 5 at risk of severe acute malnutrition in 2016. Approximately 244,000 of these cases are in Borno alone. Food insecurity especially affects children as they are dependent on nourishment for growth and development.
  6. Action Against Hunger (AAH) is active in Nigeria and has completed an assessment of risk levels in the state of Borno. AAH found levels of global acute malnutrition at 28 percent and severe malnutrition at 8 percent in Borno. These levels are especially alarming because both are almost double the international emergency threshold.
  7. Households headed by females are more inclined to have high rates of food insecurity. In the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, 55 percent of female-headed households are food insecure. Women in low-income countries often have less opportunity to gain employment that would allow them to feed their families, leading to increased levels of food deficiency.
  8. Action Against Hunger has provided clinics to aid with hunger in Nigeria. These clinics provide assistance for malnourished children, nursing mothers and pregnant women. Establishments like these save countless lives every year.
  9. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been active in fighting hunger in Nigeria. In 2017, the ICRC reached over 1 million Nigerians and provided relief and livelihood training and assistance. They also provided 450,000 people in the north-east and Middle Belt regions with food for three months.
  10. Of the 17 million people living in regions affected by Boko Haram, 11 million are in need of humanitarian aid, food, water and shelter. These numbers delineate the effects of political strife on low-income countries. Dangerous and unreliable living conditions are not conducive to access to an adequate food supply.

Fighting Food Insecurity

Levels of hunger in Nigeria are alarming, but the work of organizations like AAF and ICRC have been able to begin the fight against food insecurity. Without the aid of humanitarian workers, a higher number of lives would be lost each year to malnourishment and hunger.

– Amelia Merchant

Photo: Flickr

The Success of Humanitarian Aid to NigeriaIn September 2017, U.N. Aid Chief Mark Lowcock said, “that the Government and humanitarians had made important progress in delivering life-saving relief to millions of people in north-east Nigeria.” He made this statement after visiting the country for two days. He did insist on continued efforts from the international community to support humanitarian aid to Nigeria.

This statement shows that humanitarian aid to Nigeria has been making a meaningful impact on the country. The large African country is home to 186 million people and is a large oil producer, but many people do not benefit from the inherent wealth.

The area that the U.K. and other international groups are concerned with is the North East region. According to the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, “Nigeria is a country riven with inequality. 85 percent of the population survive on less than two dollars a day, and certain regions, especially the North East, are far behind the rest of the country in terms of development.” It is extremely important to have funds to support this region.

Because of the poverty and poor living conditions of a large majority of Nigeria’s population, international aid organizations have been sending funds to the country. The U.K. pledged $250 million to Nigeria in August and has been a long-term supporter of its former colony’s development. This pledge was made to help stabilize Nigeria as the country is dealing with the terrorist group, Boko Haram. The U.K. had already given over $100 million in 2017 when they made this new pledge. Britain is concerned about the potential famine that could affect around a million people. According to News24, “The new aid is meant to restore key infrastructure and services, improve health care and education and help farmers.”

In addition to the U.K., USAID has also been helping to address the food insecurity in the Northeast. The organization gave 2.2 million people emergency food assistance in September. This has been done through cash transfers so that people can buy locally. The success of this type of humanitarian aid to Nigeria occurs at much more local level.

USAID has also been funding efforts to help improve road access to the North East so that food and supplies can reach those in need. This effort has positively affected over four million Nigerians.

Because of efforts like these, the international community and the people of Nigeria, specifically those in the North East, are seeing improvements. Providing food and resources in order to maintain stability is a continued effort in Nigeria. These efforts will continue to provide support for Nigerians in need of aid and hopefully, humanitarian aid to Nigeria will continue to thrive.

– Emilia Beuger

Photo: Flickr