‘Millions of Children Going Hungry in North East Nigeria as Attacks Devastate Lives’ – Save the Children

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Aug. 5, 2021) — Save the Children is deeply concerned to find that an estimated 2.3 million children and youth, including some 700,000 children under five[1], are going hungry in North East Nigeria

A recent UN report found that 4.4 million people in the area are facing food shortages as attacks by militants are forcing farmers from their lands. Save the Children strongly condemns the reported attacks and displacement of farmers and other civilians. 

An estimated 2.2 million people have fled their homes because of the violence, leaving families and children wanting for food, a safe place to live, and, for many children, an education.

Shannon Ward, Acting Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, said:

“The situation is extremely dire. Millions of children have already been through a decade of suffering, violence, and humanitarian crisis. Thousands and thousands have died, and many more saw their rights to survive, learn, and be protected, impacted.” 

“The reported loss of livelihoods, land, and crop coupled with the effects of COVID-19 is beyond something the community can bear. We are extremely worried that this will lead to an even bigger food crisis in the northeast of the country.”

“We call upon the Federal and State Governments to ensure that farmers are supported and protected, so they can work their lands and feed their families and communities. And we call for safe access for humanitarian workers so that we can reach those most in need.”

“Children, girls and women are more vulnerable at times of attack and displacement. As a result of overcrowding, family separation, a lack of basic social services, and desperate measures people take just to survive, such as marrying off their children, they run a high risk of gender-based violence, physical and sexual abuse. Many children will be urged to drop out of school, and some will never return – with their childhood dream fading away.”

The crisis in Nigeria comes at a time when the world is facing its biggest hunger crisis of the 21st century, with an estimated 5.7 million children under five on the brink of starvation across the globe. A further 13 million children under 18 are facing extreme food shortages, the organization said.

Save the Children urges the authorities in Nigeria and the international community to commit more resources to address the massive critical needs of the displaced people in North East Nigeria. 

Save the Children was one of the first humanitarian organizations that responded to the humanitarian crisis in the area, reaching 1.2 million people since the start of the response. The organization is providing food assistance and protection services to more than 320,000 children and families on a regular basis. 

Save the Children remains committed to working with the authorities to deliver urgent, life-saving humanitarian assistance for children and their families in need.

[1] According to UN Data, around 16 percent of all children in Nigeria are under five. Around 53 percent are 19 or younger. Fifty-three percent of 4.4 million people in need in North East Nigeria is around 2.3 million children of 19 or younger, 16 percent of 4.4 million is around 704,000 children under five. 

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