The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), has revealed that over 14 million people living in the north-east region of Nigeria are in serious need of help.
It warned that many lives would be lost if the people were not attended to urgently.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Peter Lundberg, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
He attributed the suffering of the people to the dwindling in-flow of funds from donor partners.
Mr. Lundberg said over 26 million people were likely affected by the crisis, with 14 milloon people already identified to be in urgent need of assistance to survive.
He said out of the 400,000 children said to be suffering severe famine and malnutrition, 75,000 of them may die in a few months if urgent intervention was not given.
Mr. Lundberg explained that the declining in-flow of funds may hamper humanitarian intervention in the region, a situation he said can lead to the death of millions of people in the area, particularly children.
While noting that the region is at the verge of a humanitarian crisis of global proportion, the World body lamented that the funds so far received for 2016 is a far cry from budgeted expenditure.
The envoy, who blamed the shortfall on what he described as a multitude of complexity facing the world, said out of the $485 million budgeted for 2016; only $180 million had so far been received, thereby creating a huge gap in tackling the situation.
He therefore called on Nigerians, particularly the rich, to contribute no matter how small, in order to prevent the disaster and also ameliorate the plight of the suffering in the region.
“We need to reach out to the private sector. Most of these children are already experiencing changes in the colour of their hairs and skin and may likely die due to weak immune system”, Mr. Lunberg said.
‘Nigeria is a rich country and there are a lot of rich people that have the capacity to give and are also willing to do so”, he said.
The coordinator disclosed that his agency, apart from intervening in the area of food and health, was also assisting in water and sanitation, shelter, education and empowerment amongst others.
Mr. Lundberg said as part of measures to effectively reach the people, the organization has concluded plans to establish a humanitarian hub that would bring staff of the agency and other partners closer to the people.
On the alleged rape of women and girls in the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps, the UN envoy said such is a common occurrence in situations like this. He added, however, that there was need to sensitize communities on their rights and responsibilities.
He also suggested a system of creating spaces to avoid unhealthy contacts as well as the provision of lights in most camps to prevent certain criminal acts that darkness encourages.