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Over 700,000 Children under 5 years, others in serious starvation in Northeast Nigeria – SCI

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By Chidinma Chukwu

A Non-governmental Organisation,
‘Save the Children International’ said about 2.3 million children and youth, including some 700,000 children under five are going hungry in the northeastern part of Nigeria following the increasing attacks by bandits.

In a statement signed by Director, Advocacy and Campaigns, Amanuel Mamo on Thursday in Abuja, the organization expressed concern that the devastating attack has led to malnutrition, hunger, abuse and trauma.

SCI also condemned the incessant attacks and displacement of farmers and other civilian in the region.

According to them, “A recent UN report found that 4.4 million people in the area on the brink of acute hunger as attacks by militants are forcing farmers from their lands.

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“Around 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”.

Acting Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, Shannon Ward, said:
“The situation in the northeast 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 impacted to survive, learn and be protected.

“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.”

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“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 a safe access for humanitarian workers, so 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 desparate 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.”

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Save the Children however said it is committed to work with authorities in the northeast of Nigeria to deliver urgent, life-saving humanitarian assistance for children and their families who are in dire need.

They further urge state government and the international community to commit more resources to address the massive critical needs of the displaced people.

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