February 8, 2017, Vienna, Austria. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has approved an emergency assistance grant in support of the World Food Program’s (WFP) ongoing humanitarian food and nutrition assistance operations in famine-stricken areas in northeast Nigeria. This latest initiative will target over two million people in the worse-affected areas—Borno and Yobe states—including population pockets where humanitarian assistance has not yet reached.
The ongoing unrest in northeast Nigeria has caused critical levels of food insecurity and malnutrition and as a result, some 4.6 million people are going hungry. An estimated two million people are in urgent need of assistance, and over one-half of children under the age of five are suffering from moderate to acute malnutrition
In December, WFP provided over one million vulnerable people with life-saving food assistance—the highest number since operations started in April 2016. However, the response is unable to address the severity of the current food insecurity situation across such a large population. WFP is therefore scaling up its operations to help close this gap.
Activities will include providing food, and where markets are functioning, cash-based assistance and distributing specialized nutrient-rich food for children under the age of five. WFP will continue to scale-up cash transfer where appropriate and will focus on low-income families to enable them to buy nutritious food to prevent any relapse after their children have been treated for malnutrition.
OFID’s relationship with WFP began in 1981 and comprises over US$32m in humanitarian aid to 18 countries in Africa and Asia.