DAMATURU/ABUJA – The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin welcomes the progress made by the humanitarian community and the Government of Nigeria in fighting hunger in the country’s northeast. Together, Cousin said, they are reaching increasing numbers of people affected by years of conflict.
People in newly liberated areas suffer from extreme hunger and malnutrition. Children, in particular, suffer from severe acute malnutrition. By December 2016, an agile response, combining rapid air-and-road interventions, enabled WFP and partners to reach more than a million people in need, particularly in these high risk areas. And while some areas remain inaccessible, organizations are working together to reach as many as 1.8 million vulnerable men, women and children in the first quarter of 2017.
“You can see the tremendous progress achieved in a matter of months,” Cousin said. “Children who could barely stand just last November are now on the road to recovery. They will continue to require our assistance in the coming months. The work of the international community in Nigeria is not over yet.”
She was speaking after visiting Pompomari camp for the internally displaced in Damaturu, where people from Yobe and Borno States sought safety. The 2,000 people in the camp fled their lands and lost their homes; some have occupied the camp for more than two years.
At Pompomari, WFP provides cash assistance in the form of money credited electronically to mobile phones. The spending helps to stimulate local markets. To prevent and treat child malnutrition, children under the age of five receive a highly nutritious, peanut-based supplement, while pregnant and nursing women receive nutritional support.
But amid concerns over continued funding, Cousin sounded a note of caution. “The world should not wait for babies to die before taking action,” she warned. She appealed to the international community not to prioritize one hungry child over another.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
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For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Margot Van der Velden, WFP/Abuja: 0805540600
Abdou Dieng, WFP/Dakar: +221776449851
Andre Vornic, WFP/Dakar: +221776394271
Frances Kennedy, WFP/Rome: +393467600806