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Nigeria crisis Q&A: 75,000 children could die in the next year

An escalating food crisis in Nigeria threatens to overwhelm an already desperately under-funded humanitarian response. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the situation?

Children are paying the price as fighting between insurgents and the Nigerian government has intensfied – on top of seven years of unrest.

Violence has forced a million children to flee their homes. Many have seen friends and family killed, or been attacked themselves.

Now, as new parts of the country are becoming accessible, the devastating scale of children’s needs is becoming clear.

How is the food crisis affecting children?

People’s desperate search for safety has led to hunger and disease in overcrowded camps or overstretched communities. We’re on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

According to the UN, 75,000 children could die from malnutrition over the next year. That’s 205 children every day.

We’ve reached 200,000 children but we need support to urgently scale up our response and save more children’s lives.

What’s Save the Children doing about the food crisis?

We’re on the ground – responding to the urgent needs of displaced children and families.

Our volunteers find malnourished children and refer them to our seven therapeutic feeding sites.

We’ve screened over 40,000 children and treated more than 12,000 children for severe malnutrition.

We’re providing food to 7,500 families, and plan to reach another 5,000. With extra support for pregnant women and new mothers.

What else are you doing?

Whatever we can. We’re installing latrines and water pumps to help people stay healthy.

We’re training foster carers and providing case workers so vulnerable children have the care they need to start recovering.

We’re getting children learning again and, at our child friendly spaces – amid the heartbreak and chaos – children are playing once more.

What’s Save the Children calling for?

Nigeria’s government is trying to respond to these needs, but the scale of the suffering is overwhelming.

The UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, has called this food crisis the most under-reported, under-funded and least addressed of the big crises the world is facing.

With the UN’s appeal two thirds unfunded, international donors must urgently increase political and financial support to save thousands of lives.

How many people are displaced?

Around 2.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes – the majority have sought safety in Nigeria but some some 600,000 are spread across Chad, Niger and Cameroon,

1.4 million of those are still in Borno, with the majority staying in and around the state capital, Maiduguri. The majority of the others are in neighbouring states.

Over half of those forced from their homes are children.

Where are they staying?

78% of internally displaced people are staying in towns and villages or in informal camps, and the remainder are in formal camps.

As new areas become accessible, some people have been returning home.

Close to 1 million people have gone back but many have little to return to, with whole towns and communities decimated and the threat of attacks still present.

 

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