UN: Over 7.9 million people need urgent life-saving assistance in Nigeria

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Not less down 7.9 million Nigerians are facing challenges that require urgent life-saving assistance and could be worse with the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations has said.

The Head, Public Information Unit, United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria, Eve Sabbagh, stated this in an interview with The ICIR on Tuesday.

She stated that the number of people in dire need of life-saving assistance including food, shelter and potable water rose from 7.1 million in 2019 to 7.9 million in 2020 amid COVID-19 pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, we had already recorded an increase from 7.1 million to 7.9 million but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people in need is rising even further,” she said.

Sabbagh noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is really taking tolls on Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable ones living in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, all in the North East of the country.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on vulnerable people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, the number of people in need of urgent assistance is rising,” she said.

“This is why it is urgent to aid actors receive the funding necessary to implement life-saving actions, including COVID-19 prevention.”

She explained further that it is of utmost importance for the UN and other Non-Governmental Organisations working on the humanitarian response to get the needed fund to assist the vulnerable Nigerians.

“UN and NGOs working on the humanitarian response have so far only received 15 percent of the money needed,” she told The ICIR.

“Basically at this stage, we have less than $20 for the whole year for each person we would like to try and help in the three states. It is less than 65 cents a day for each person. This does not bring much food and medication for example.

“There are many people in need of urgent assistance that we cannot help right now due to under-funding.”