Report: Children starving in Nigeria’s Borno state

Jul 19, 2016, 4:05 AM EDT
(Source: TKnoxB/flickr)
(Source: TKnoxB/flickr)

According to a report by the U.N.I.C.E.F., about a quarter of a million Nigerian children in parts of Borno are suffering from acute malnutrition, with thousands of them on the verge of dying in the absence of immediate treatment and humanitarian aid. Northeastern Nigeria has been plagued by a seven-year rebellion by Boko Haram militants, who have killed more than 20,000 people and displaced about two million during the period.

U.N.I.C.E.F.’s Regional Director for Western and Central Africa, Manuel Fontaine, said that several organizations have been working on the ground but the scale and quality of relief work remain far short than what is required, writes the BBC. Fontaine added that the true scope of the crisis would only be revealed after the aid workers reach about two million people stuck in inaccessible and dangerous parts of Borno.

Doune Porter, a spokeswoman for U.N.I.C.E.F. in Nigeria, said that all humanitarian agencies are “under-resourced” and “underfunded” to tackle such a huge nutrition crisis, reports The Wall Street Journal. The U.N. children’s body has received only $23 million as aid after it appealed for $55.5 million to respond to the crisis in northeastern Nigeria.

The U.N. says that about 30 percent of health facilities and 70 percent of water infrastructure has been destroyed in the region, with Boko Haram combatants still active in some parts despite a major crackdown against the group.