An estimated 7.1 million people are now severely food insecure across Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, with 515 000 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), reports NaijaAgroNet.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) made this revelation at the just concluded Oslo Humanitarian Conference today, organized to mobilize international funding for the crisis-struck region, mostly where 80 to 90 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods.
Confirming the revelation, the Director, FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Dominique Burgeon, noted that among these countries are 515 000 children who are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM); a condition which, if untreated, could lead to permanent damage to a child's development and even death.
FAO pointed out that with the next planting season starting in May, and with scarcity of animal fodder and water points during the lean season, it has become crucial that crop seeds, tools and livestock support reach families urgently to limit the scope of the deepening crisis that now involves four countries,
According to FAO, the food crisis has split across borders as a result of violence related to the armed group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria , while some parts of neighboring countries in the Lake Chad Basin, precisely Cameroon's Far North, western Chad and southeastern Niger; with what it described as devastating effects on food security and livelihoods.
FAO, therefore, urgently calls for $30 million in immediate emergency support to assist farming families in these four countries to get ready to plant in the upcoming May planting season and prevent them from slipping into long-term dependency on food aid.