The United Nations has revealed that humanitarian partners will require a sum of $1.5 billion to reach 6.1 million people who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance in the North-east ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents.

It lamented that the humanitarian crisis in North-east continues as hostilities between Nigerian security forces and non-state armed groups enter their ninth year, adding that civilians still bear the brunt of the conflict that has resulted in widespread displacement, lack of protection, destroyed infrastructure and collapsed basic services.

United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, disclosed this in a foreward he wrote on the Humanitarian Response Plan, January-December, 2018 posted on the UN website.

He said the food and nutrition crisis is of massive proportions, as an estimated 7.7 million people in the three most affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe now depend on humanitarian assistance for their survival.

He said though the federal government succeeded in opening new areas in mid-2017 that enabled the humanitarian community to provide much-needed life-saving assistance, but stressed that despite these achievements, many challenges remain as the conflict and population movements continue.

Kallon stated that humanitarian assistance has prevented people from slipping below emergency thresholds, but it has not addressed underlying vulnerabilities, pointing out that in the absence of a political solution, the crisis would likely continue into 2018.

He stated: “In 2016 and 2017, in close cooperation with the Government of Nigeria, the humanitarian community provided life-saving assistance and helped stabilise living conditions for millions of people. Mortality and morbidity were reduced and a further spillover effect prevented. In 2017, the response was scaled up and, as of October, had reached 5.6 million people.

“Some major successes were achieved, including a decrease in the number of food insecure people from 5.1 million to 3.91 million, the rapid containment of the cholera outbreak through the innovative use of an oral cholera vaccine, improved agricultural production through assistance to 1.3 million farmers and access to a higher number of affected people. These results can be attributed to strong coordination, extensive engagement and generous funding.

“While a robust humanitarian response will be essential – especially in hardest-hit Borno State – the protracted nature of the crisis creates new needs which require longer-term assistance. For the 1.6 million who are displaced from their homes, and the communities that host them, we need to find durable solutions. This requires longer planning horizons, more strategic interventions and flexible, longer-term funding.

“The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is, therefore, underpinned by a multi-year strategy representing a paradigm shift as well as a commitment by the international humanitarian community to align with the Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020), the Buhari Plan and the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework (2018-2022).

“The provision of life-saving emergency assistance to the most vulnerable remains our immediate priority. We will also scale up protection and resilience-based activities, and ensure better quality of our interventions.

“Capacity building for local partners and Government counterparts will be prioritised across the response to strengthen national response mechanisms and ensure sustainability. In doing so, humanitarian partners will require $1.05 billion to reach 6.1 million people with humanitarian assistance.

“In 2017, donors funded the appeal very generously: as of 31 December, we had received 70.5 per cent of the requested amount, which has enabled us to achieve tangible results. While we are aware that other large-scale crises also require donor support, it is essential to continue this positive momentum and build on the results attained. Should we fail to meet our targets, it could undermine the gains made to date,” he said.

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