If the latest report of acute hunger and malnutrition in Borno and Yobe states is to be taken seriously, the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government may be in for a rude awakening to the emergency of child hunger currently ravaging the northeastern Nigeria.
Despite receiving significant amount of humanitarian attention from international organisations, Nigeria continues to record acute levels of malnutrition in northeastern part of the country.
The head of communications for Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger), Elizabeth Wright, who took part in several malnutrition surveys in northeastern Nigeria, told IRINNews that the worsening situation represents “the worst humanitarian crisis and suffering since World War II.”
“We are seeing a horrifying prevalence of malnutrition that far exceeds emergency thresholds, and people are facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity,” she added.
In terms of Global Acute Malnutrition, a survey by FEWS NET, a network set up by USAID, recorded 15% malnutrition in population of children surveyed in Borno and Yobe states, a threshold deemed “critical”.
The survey, in some cases, recorded 50% levels of malnutrition, which means over half the children suffered from moderate or severe acute malnutrition.
“This level of acute malnutrition reflects an ‘Extreme Critical’ situation… and is associated with a significantly increased risk of child mortality,” the survey revealed.
“Conditions may be even worse in areas that remain inaccessible,” it added.
The FEWS NET report also found that a former government hospital in Bama, Borno state, has now been turned into a camp for over 25,000 internally displaced people (IDP).
Recall a report by UNICEF which revealed that 244,000 children are faced with severe malnourishment in Borno State alone, with an estimated warning that 49, 000 (one in every five) would die if the situation is unchecked.