Home / BREAKING NEWS / Nigeria: Famine looms in northern Nigeria, MSF warns

Nigeria: Famine looms in northern Nigeria, MSF warns

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PHOTO: AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS
Nigeria has pledged to do more to tackle food shortages among people made homeless by Boko Haram. PHOTO: AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS
Nigeria has pledged to do more to tackle food shortages among people made homeless by Boko Haram.
A girl suffering from severe acute malnutrition is weighed at a Unicef nutrition clinics in the Muna camp in Nigeria. PHOTO: AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS
A girl suffering from severe acute malnutrition is weighed at a Unicef nutrition clinics in the Muna camp in Nigeria. PHOTO: AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS
PHOTO: AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS
The UN has warned that some 50,000 children could starve to death this year in Borno state alone if nothing is done. PHOTO: AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS
The UN has warned that some 50,000 children could starve to death this year in Borno state alone if nothing is done. PHOTO: AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS

Northest Nigeria is a�?closea�? to famine with hundreds of thousands trapped without help, and must be declared a a�?top emergencya�? by the UN, said Medical charity Doctors Without Borders on Wednesday.

The charity known by its French acronym MSF said the region devastated by Boko Harama��s Islamist insurgency had between 500,000 and 800,000 people trapped in areas that cannot be reached by humanitarian workers.

A UN a�?top emergencya�? designation a�� which would put Nigeria on a list with Syria, Iraq and Yemen a�� would immediately mobilise more resources to a crisis that has not received nearly enough attention, MSF said.

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Boko Haram attacks in the northeast have declined over the last year, but MSFa��s emergency programme manager Hugues Robert noted that aid workers were still limited in where they can go.

Some cities in the northeast, such as Banki and Bama, had gone up to 18 months without any humanitarian deliveries before aid agencies and the UN arrived in June.

a�?What was extremely shocking was the level of severe acute malnutrition,a�? Robert said, adding that communities faced a�?close to a famine situation.a�?

Many areas can only be accessed under escort from the Nigerian army, he told reporters in Geneva after returning from Borno state, the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency.

a�?We need the UN and all their agencies to consider this as a top emergency,a�? Bruno Jochum, director of MSF Switzerland, told reporters.

Boko Haram, which seeks to impose strict Islamic law in northern Nigeria, has been blamed for some 20,000 deaths and displacing more than 2.6 million people since 2009.

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