By Idowu Michael, in Maiduguri
The United Nations, through the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund, has allocated $13.4 million to help thousands of children, women and men in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in crisis-hit north-east Nigeria.
A statement on Monday by Samantha Newport, Head Communications, United Nations-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) Nigeria, decried that the humanitarian emergency in the northeastern Nigeria is one of the most severe in the world today, with 8.5 million people in need of life-saving aid in 2017 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
The statement promised that: “The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) allocation will help address this devastating situation by financing 24 projects in the sectors of protection, nutrition, water and sanitation, health, education, shelter and non-food items, rapid response and early recovery, targeting a total of 950,000 people.”
It said: “In line with commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit, five local responders are being supported through direct funding in this allocation. By empowering national partners, a more integrated and localized response will be possible, and their capacity will also be strengthened.”
The UN-OCHA Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, was quoted in the statement to have said: “Humanitarian needs in north-east Nigeria are still vast,” and that “The United Nations and our partners, in support of the Government of Nigeria, are committed to assisting those in need, especially in pivotal areas such as protection and health.”
The statement said: “In particular, the funds will be used to expand and improve sexual and reproductive health services for nearly 130,000 women and adolescent girls in areas of Borno, the epicentre of the crisis, and boost mental health services for vulnerable children, women and men. Gender-based violence will also be addressed by providing more accessible medical care. In light of the recent cholera outbreak and to mitigate the risk of faecal contamination and poor hygiene, funds have also been allocated to improve the availability of safe water and sanitation for 125,000 people.
It revealed that: “The NHF is one of 18 country-based pooled funds and was launched during the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in February 2017. Managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on behalf of the Humanitarian Coordinator, it plays a vital role in ensuring an effective, coordinated, prioritized and principled humanitarian response in Nigeria.
“To date the NHF has received $41 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Spain, Luxembourg, the Arab Gulf Program for Development, Malta, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka.”