Northeast: $848m Required For Humanitarian Projects, Says UN

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More than 7.1 million of the 13.4 million people Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states are facing the brunt of terrorists’ attacks, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), has said.

The UN agency also said $848 million would be required for 183 projects to address the humanitarian crisis by insurgency in the Northeast this year.

These were contained in the details of presentations by UN-OCHA) at the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in Abuja .

In the document, UN-OCHA officials, led by United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, expressed grave concerns that the ongoing crisis in the Northeast had sacked thousands from their homes.

Besides, the Director-General of European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO Nigeria), Mr. Thomas Conan and representatives of other donor agencies reaffirmed commitment to help Nigeria resolve some outstanding challenges.

A director in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Dr. Sanjo Faniran, emphasized the ministry’s appeal that all Nigerians should do their best by contributing in whatever way they can.

“There is crisis in the North East today, but while no one prays for it, challenges could happen in other any other place in future,” Faniran stated in his appeal.

Acknowleding only a marginal reduction in last year’s number of victims in the Northeast, OCHA officials noted that many returnees in various parts of the Northeast still find it very difficult to go their respective homes while significant numbers of children are sleeping under trees in spite of the chilly harmattan breeze.

According to OCHA officials, numerous facilities and projects, including the UN camp for thousands of internally-displaced persons in Rann, Borno State, have either suffered devastations or reverses after terrorists overran various areas.

They said: “The number of people estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance has dropped by eight per cent compared to 2018, from 7.7 million to 7.1 million; the reduced number of people in need is attributed to improved provision of humanitarian assistance, in particular with regard to food security.

“The number of people who will be targeted for assistance has increased from last year, from 6.1 million to 6.2 million.

“Although the Food Security, Nutrition and Education sectors significantly reduced their targets, the Early Recovery and Protection sectors have increased.

“Financial requirements have decreased 19 per cent , from $1.05 billion to $848 million, reflecting a sharper and more focused approach to the humanitarian response by sectors, and taking into account additional funds for Northeast Nigeria outside of the humanitarian sphere, such as those pledged at the High Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region in September 2018 and international financial institution monies that have been or are due to be disbursed,” the OCHA stated in its 75-page draft “Humanitarian Response Strategy”.

An estimated total of 6.2 million people being targeted for humanitarian assistance, including food, health and water, include one million persons from Yobe state, 1.3 million from Adamawa and 3.9 million from Borno while others in dangerous localities are categorised as ‘hard to reach people’.

“I’m honoured to present the 2019-2021 Humanitarian Response Strategy, with a one-year response plan targeting 6.2 million of the most vulnerable people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states for humanitarian assistance; the financial appeal this year has reduced from $1 billion in 2018 to $848 million, reflecting a sharpened focus in the response and an increase in funding for development activities.

“Despite a significant scale-up of the humanitarian response by the United Nations and partners since 2016, in support of the Government of Nigeria, the humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria continues. Civilians still hear the brunt of a conflict that has led to widespread forced displacement, abuse, and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

“New and protracted displacement, triggered by the conflict, continues to affect access to basic services and disrupts the livelihoods of millions of people. Acute malnutrition among children under the age of five is above emergency thresholds in many parts of the Northeast.

“In line with a strong commitment to principled humanitarian action, humanitarian partners will seek to address humanitarian needs wherever they may be located in north-east Nigeria; strong partnerships between national and international actors are critical to ensuring people receive the life-saving assistance they need.

“In 2018, donors funded the appeal very generously. The $1 billion appeal was 67 per cent funded, representing over $698 million; other large-scale crises also require donor support, however it is essential to continue this positive momentum and build on the results achieved last year.

“Should we fail to meet our targets, it could undermine the progress made to date. This 2019-2021 Humanitarian Response Strategy provides a way forward to tackle the challenges inherent in planning and responding to large-scale needs in a complex setting.”

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