450,000 children risk acute malnutrition in NE Nigeria: UNICEF
September 30,2017 By:Xinhua
ABUJA, Sept.30,2017-- About 450,000 children risk acute malnutrition in Nigeria's northeast region plagued by terror group Boko Haram's eight-year violence, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Friday.
UNICEF deputy director Justin Forsythe, who is on a three-day visit to the northeastern city of Maiduguri, told reporters there that among the 1 million children displaced by the violence, 450,000 under the age of five were expected to suffer from acute malnutrition.
Moreover, an estimated 3 million children were forced out of schools by the Boko Haram violence.
Forsythe said if continued, the violence may push the humanitarian crisis further.
"Children in the northeast are living through so much horror," he said.
The UNICEF official had visited Maiduguri, capital of the northeastern state of Borno and epicenter of Boko Haram's violence, to canvass for more support for children in the region.
According to data by the UN agency, over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 displaced since 2009 when the violence started.
"Almost 1,400 schools have been destroyed with majority unable to open because of extreme damage or because they are in areas that remain unsafe," Forsythe said.
In addition to devastating malnutrition, violence and the recent outbreak of cholera in Maiduguri, attacks on schools could create "a lost generation of children" which may affect their future and that of Nigeria, he noted.
He said UNICEF has enrolled about 750,000 children in school this year, adding that it established over 350 temporary learning spaces and is distributing 94,000 packs of learning materials to help children get an education.
He said the life-saving program introduced by the UN agency to support children in the region was underfunded with a 40-percent gap, calling on more international donor agencies to step up support.