• The multi-dimensional impact of the food security crisis is affecting communities in the areas of nutrition, protection, security and health. The recent visit of the Humanitarian Coordinator brought to light negative coping mechanisms that people are using to survive, as well as other operational issues related to food insecurity and the overall response.
• The closure of MSF health services in Pulka and Gwoza towns is generating concern among beneficiaries and widening response gaps, as handover to the Borno State Government is discussed.
Funding urgently needed as food and nutrition crisis continues Despite preparedness measures, including the prepositioning of supplies, the unfolding reality on the ground indicates an urgent need to redouble efforts to avert catastrophic food shortages. To date, the full amount of funding required (250M USD) to scale-up the response during this lean season has not been received. This is having a cascading effect on planned response operations, delaying them and forcing the in-country Operational Task Force on Catastrophic Food Insecurity Conditions to re-prioritize efforts across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states in order to adhere to the available, yet limited, funding. Worsening insecurity, dwindling resources and the shrinking humanitarian space are aggravating the situation, even as populations, including in return areas, are unable to cultivate food on a large scale due to fear of nonstate armed group (NSAG) attacks across farming areas. Engagements in the field indicate dire conditions particularly for adolescent girls and women, some of whom are reportedly feeding children with grass and resorting to negative coping mechanisms including begging and survival sex to meet urgent food needs.
The Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, concluded a week-long visit in the north-east BAY states, and continued to advocate for the immediate release of all required funding in order to avert catastrophic food insecurity, which is already at tipping point. Current conditions in some areas are very similar to the famine-like conditions witnessed in some of the worst-affected locations in 2017, at the peak of the crisis. All critical variables of food security such as production, availability, access and nutritional security have drastically declined, worsening by record high inflation rates affecting the prices of food commodities.
The impact of worsening food insecurity on health, nutrition, protection and security Harrowing stories underscoring the extent of the coping mechanisms adopted by affected communities to survive were conveyed during the visit of the Humanitarian Coordinator. OCHA and the Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) Advisor provided additional updates on the protection dimensions and the particularly dire conditions for mothers who are among the worst affected by the escalating food shortages, citing a recent mission to Monguno LGA where women are enduring the trauma and agony of babies crying through the night for food, forcing some to resort to extreme and unsustainable coping measures such as feeding grass to children. Sources in the LGA claim that up to 200 people may have died from starvation in recent times. In Gwoza LGA, nutrition supplies including plumpy nuts for children are being consumed by entire families due to food shortages, further exposing children to risks of malnutrition. Children are being
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.