Red Cross Raises the Alarm over Hunger in North-west, North-central

Michael Olugbode

The Nigerian Red Cross Society has raised an alarm that a good number of people in the North-west and North-central region of the country are in dire situation without knowing where their next meal will come from

The Secretary General of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Abubakar Kende was quoted in the statement issued yesterday  by Chima Nwankwo and Aduratomi Bolade, of Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) respectively to have said: “The situation is critical and is one that needs immediate attention. Millions are being affected, particularly women, the elderly, and vulnerable children. A good number of them are now in a situation where they do not know where their next meal will come from, and this is something that concerns us greatly.”

Kende further said: “We are grateful to our funding partners; The American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross and Netherlands Red Cross who have gone ahead to provide much needed resources to allow us reach the most vulnerable people in 7 states, however more support is still required as the funding gap is still huge viz-a-viz the needs.”

The current situation is making the Nigerian Red Cross Society to take action to fight hunger in North-West and North-Central Nigeria where United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) has estimated that about 19.4 million people will be facing acute hunger between June and August 2022.

In the statement, the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was stated to have concluded the second round of distribution of cash to support the livelihood of vulnerable persons who are facing acute hunger under its Nigeria Hunger Crisis Appeal.

According to the statement affected persons who were drawn from Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Nasarawa and Benue states were assisted.

The statement noted that the report, processed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other stakeholders, has shown that acute food and nutrition insecurity in the Sahel and West African region will affect Nigeria in 21 states and FCT.

The statement said Mr. Benson Agbro, NRCS Disaster Management Coordinator has received that cash support has been provided to 30,000 people (5,000 households) who are in dire need of humanitarian support and facing food insecurity due to combination of climate change, conflicts and COVID 19, noting that the Hunger Crisis Appeal is targeting to reach 200,000 people in Nigeria.

Agbro also noted that the Nigerian Red Cross Society has also decided to make Mothers Club an integral part of the Hunger Crisis Emergency Appeal to teach mothers in local communities how to ensure proper nutrition for their children to reduce child mortality, prevent acute malnutrition as well as actions to take to always keep their children healthy.

The Health and Care Coordinator, Nigerian Red Cross Dr. Manir Jega, was quoted to have said: “We know that if mothers have better information, it will lead to healthier children and a better society, that is why we have set up 140 Mothers Club in the 7 states. We are working closely with Federal Ministry of Health on this.”

The statement recalled that the Nigerian Red Cross launched a 4.1 million Swiss Francs Emergency Appeal in 2021 and is in the process of revising it upwards to meet the growing needs on the ground, lamenting that meeting the funding requirement has been a challenge due to the crisis in Ukraine which is now the focus for emergency relief around the world.

The statement decried that: “However, this crisis is also worsening the Hunger situation in Nigeria, North and West Africa.”

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