Maiduguri and Yenagoa — The United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) has raised an alarm that an estimated 400,000 children under five of age will suffer from acute malnutrition in North-eastern Nigeria due to the ongoing Boko Haram crisis. In other to arrest this ugly trend, UNICEF has upped its humanitarian appeal for Nigeria by US$60 million. In a statement yesterday, UNICEF said it needed to more than double its funding appeal to provide life-saving assistance for children in North-east Nigeria. It stated that it has revised its humanitarian appeal for Nigeria from US$55 million to US$ 115 million to assist an additional 750,000 people who can now be reached across conflict-affected areas in the northeast of the country. The statement read that: “As new areas open up to humanitarian assistance, the true scale of the Boko Haram related crisis and its impact on children is being revealed. “An estimated 400,000 children under five will suffer from severe acute malnutrition in three states across the northeast this year. More than four million people are facing severe food shortages and 65,000 people are living in famine-like conditions, mostly in Borno, the worst affected state. “Children’s lives are literally hanging by a thread,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes. “We are reaching new areas to provide critical humanitarian assistance but we need greater international support to further scale up and reach all children in dire need,” she added. In a related development, UNICEF yesterday released a grim statistics on the health sector in Nigeria, revealing that the country ranked among the highest in under-five deaths and maternal mortality in the world.

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