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FAO calls for urgent increase in assistance for lake-Chad region

Africa famine

The humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad Basin has attracted attention from the international community. Director General of the Organization of the United Nations for food and agriculture, José Graziano da -Silva who visited Chad and Nigeria recently, indicates the urgency to respond to the consequences of terrorism.

“If we miss the coming planting season, there will be no substantial harvests until 2018. Failure to restore food production now will lead to the worsening of widespread and severe hunger and prolonged dependency on external assistance further into the future,” Graziano da Silva said. The time for all of us to act is now.”

He added that It is imperative to immediately ramp up humanitarian assistance to hunger-threatened rural communities in the region.

Insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin which incorporates parts of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and northeastern Nigeria – has resulted in the largest humanitarian crisis in Africa.

The conflict has forced an estimated 1.9 million people to abandon their homes and their predominantly agricultural livelihoods, in northeastern Nigeria alone.

Across the Lake Chad Basin region, some 7 million people risk suffering from severe hunger during the lean season and require immediate food and livelihood assistance.

“Protracted conflict has eroded coping capacities, exhausted livelihoods and left people with no way to feed themselves and their families. Agriculture cannot be an afterthought. More than 80 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods,” the FAO Director-General said.

Da Silva met local farmers on several FAO supported farms in Gongolong and Old Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State. He was accompanied by the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, T.H Audu Ogbeh.

More than 1.16 million people are expected to receive assistance from FAO in the coming months across the most affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin region as the UN agency and partners move to scale up their work.

Key activities include the distribution of cereal seeds, animal feed and the provision of cash transfers and veterinary care.

$232m Needed to Tackle Food Insecurity in Lake Chad Basin, Says FAO https://t.co/TwLiS0kklJ

— CSJ (@censoj) April 8, 2017

The initiative will enable displaced farmers and voluntary returnees to get a substantial harvest and replenish their food stocks, and to prevent animal losses among vulnerable herders.