BY DIBIE IKE MICHAEL
Image: Sunday Alamba/AP
The United Nations has doubled its humanitarian funding appeal for northeast Nigeria to $1 billion in 2017 in a bid to reach nearly 7 million people hit by the Islamist militant Boko Haram insurgency who are in need of life-saving help.
“We identified 8.5 million people in critical need in the three states that I just mentioned, but we will target 6.9 million people and we will do that, (which) requires 1 billion U.S. dollars for next year,” U.N. Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Northeastern Nigeria, Peter Lundberg said.
The United Nations has said some 75,000 children are at risk of starving to death in the region over the next few months if they do not receive humanitarian assistance.
Director of Operational Division at U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging called for immediate measures to be taken by international community.
According to him, the one billion dollars required is a “very small amount of money” for a rich world with the GDP of over 70 trillion dollars.
“So that is going to be something that we would be taking back to our capitals with a lot of energy and a lot of urgency that the money, the financial resources required to capacitate the international response is delivered immediately because it’s needed now,” he added.
The jihadist group has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million from their homes during a seven-year insurgency in Africa’s most populous nation.
Nigerian military forces backed by troops from neighboring states had, in the past few months, pushed Boko Haram out of areas they previously controlled, revealing thousands of people living in famine-like conditions.