Nigeria may lose 75,000 children to malnutrition next year according to United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
Arjan de Wagt, nutrition chief of UNICEF in Nigeria, notes that the severity of malnutrition levels and high number of children facing death make the humanitarian crisis confronting northeastern Nigeria perhaps the worst in the world.
De Wagt explains that most severely malnourished children die of secondary illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections.
The expert says: “But with famine, you actually die of hunger. Globally, you just don’t see this. You have to go back to places like Somalia five years ago to see these kinds of levels. Nearly 260,000 people died in Somalia between 2010 and 2012 from severe drought aggravated by war.”
On Thursday UNICEF doubled the amount of its appeal for Nigeria, saying $115 million is needed to save children. However, only $24 million has been raised so far.
Speaking about the whole society De Wagt stressed: “Of 4 million people in desperate need of food are about 2.2 million people trapped in areas where Boko Haram is operating or in newly liberated areas that still are too dangerous to reach by road. Among them, 65,000 are living in famine-like conditions.”