Almost a quarter of a million children in Nigeria’s Borno state, which was once controlled by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, are suffering from severe malnutrition, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) has warned.
Unicef said out of 244,000 children found to be suffering from acute malnutrition in Borno, almost one in five, or roughly 49,000, would die if they failed to get quick medical assistance.
The severity of the crisis has come to light as non-governmental agencies, aid groups and the UN have been able to access more areas in north-eastern Nigeria in recent times.
“Some 134 children on average will die every day from causes linked to acute malnutrition if the response is not scaled up quickly,” Manuel Fontaine, Unicef’s regional director for Western and Central African warned.
“There are two million people we are still not able to reach in Borno state, which means that the true scope of this crisis has yet to be revealed to the world,” Fontaine added.
In June, aid agency Doctors Without Borders said a “catastrophic emergency” was emerging at a makeshift camp in Borno’s Bama region, which had about 24,000 people taking refuge inside a hospital compound.
Borno state has been one of the hardest hit regions by Boko Haram’s seven-year rebellion that has left 20,000 people dead and more than two million others displaced in north east Nigeria
Nigeria’s military is currently involved in a large-scale offensive against the Islamist group.