The United Kingdom is releasing £47 million in aid to provide food, nutrition, water, and shelter for vulnerable families in nine countries and regions.
It said £7m of the funding will be made available in Nigeria through the World Food Programme and is estimated to reach 430,000 individuals with unconditional food assistance and nutrition support for 108 days.
This was contained in a statement on Thursday, by the Deputy British High Commission, titled, ‘COVID-19: the UK pledges an extra £47 million of aid for families hit by hunger around the world including £7m to Nigeria.’
It noted that new United Nations data revealed that humanitarian crises were worsening around the world, with 235 million people expected to require urgent assistance compared to 175m people at the start of 2020.
The statement said food, nutrition, water, childhood vaccinations and shelter are all urgently needed to help families in some of the largest humanitarian crises around the world.
“An increasing number of Nigerians affected by the conflict in the north are suffering acute food insecurity with malnutrition rates worryingly high,” the commission noted.
The UK said it was lobbying international donors to provide more funding and calling for all conflict parties to allow safe, sustained, and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need of assistance; including 1.24m people the UN estimated are living in areas currently inaccessible to humanitarian actors due to insecurity in the North-East.
It stated, “The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria is also increasing, having risen to 8.9 million people as we enter 2021.
“Over 3.4m are living in acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in NE Nigeria, including 1.2m living in areas that are inaccessible areas due to insecurity. This is set to increase to 5m people in the next lean season (June–August 2021) if immediate mitigating actions are not taken.”
The UK is the second-largest humanitarian donor to Nigeria, providing £85m in lifesaving assistance in 2020/21 alone, as part of an overall £258m of UK development funding in Nigeria.
It noted that the UN Humanitarian Response Plan remains significantly underfunded and access remains a major obstacle.
The statement explained that the UK Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs, Nick Dyer, during his visit to Nigeria in November, urged the government, the UN and the international community for increased collective action to mitigate the deteriorating food insecurity and to address humanitarian access and protection of civilians concerns.
Commenting on the pledge, the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab said, “Hundreds of millions of people living in the world’s largest humanitarian crises are struggling to survive, threatened by conflict, starvation, and coronavirus.