UNICEF says 49,000 Nigerian children may die to malnutrition 0

The UN children’s fund (UNICEF) says some 49,000 Nigerian children could die of malnutrition in the country’s troubled northeast this year if they are not provided with humanitarian aid.

According to a report published by UNICEF on Thursday, some 475,000 children around the Lake of Chad face “sever acute malnutrition” due to drought and the seven-year militancy by the Daesh-affiliated Boko Haram terror group in northeastern Nigeria.

The shallow Lake Chad, which is located on the southern edge of Sahara, borders Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

The report added that out of the nearly half a million children at risk, the Nigerian children, who live in the embattled Borno State, Boko Haram’s heartland, would lose their lives by the end of the year if they do not receive treatment and food.

It also appealed for $308 million to tackle the crisis, adding that, to date, it only received some $41 million, 13 percent of what it needed to help those affected in the four countries.

A handout photo released by UNICEF shows Nigerian refugees receiving food aid at the Minawao refugee camp in Northern Cameroon, on April 5, 2016. ©AFP

In the terror-torn Borno “towns and villages are in ruins and communities have no access to basic services,” UNICEF further said in the report, adding that nearly two thirds of hospitals and medical centers had been partially or totally destroyed. Three-quarters of water and facilities responsible for maintaining sanitation also needed rehabilitation, it added.

According to the report, some 2.2 million people are still trapped in the areas under the control of Boko Haram, despite counter-terror assaults against it. An estimated 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.6 million others made homeless since the beginning of the Boko Haram bloody militancy in Nigeria in 2009.

The terror group has pledged allegiance to Daesh Takfiri terrorists, who are mainly wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq. Boko Haram has spread its attacks from northeastern Nigeria, its traditional stronghold, to the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Regional countries have created a joint military force in helping Nigeria fight the terrorist group.