Nigeria’s herculean task to fight COVID 19 pandemic received a big boost recently as the government of the United Kingdom recently came to its financial assistance in a show of support to fight the pandemic.
The United Kingdom is releasing £47million in aid to provide food, nutrition, water, and shelter for vulnerable families in nine countries and regions.
It said £7million of thefunding would be made available in Nigeria through the World Food Programme(WFP) and is estimated to reach 430,000 individuals with unconditional foodassistance and nutrition support for 108 days.
This was contained in a statement, yesterday, by the Deputy British High Commission, titled, ‘Covid-19: the UK pledges an extra £47million of aid for families hit by hunger around the world including £7million to Nigeria.’
It noted that new UnitedNations data revealed that humanitarian crises were worsening around the world,with 235 million people expected to require urgent assistance compared to175million 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 ofNigerians affected by the conflict in the North are suffering acute foodinsecurity with malnutrition rates worryingly high,” the commission noted.
The UK said it waslobbying international donors to provide more funding, and calling for allconflict parties to allow safe, sustained, and unhindered humanitarian accessto all people in need of assistance; including 1.24million people the UNestimated are living in areas currently inaccessible to humanitarian actors dueto insecurity in the North-East.
It stated, “The numberof people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria is alsoincreasing, having risen to 8.9million people as we enter 2021.
“Over 3.4million areliving in acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in North-EastNigeria, including 1.2million living in areas that are inaccessible areas dueto insecurity. This is set to increase to 5million people in the next leanseason (June–August 2021) if immediate mitigating actions are not taken.”
The UK is thesecond-largest humanitarian donor to Nigeria, providing £85million inlifesaving assistance in 2020/21 alone, as part of an overall £258million of UKdevelopment funding in Nigeria.
It noted that the UNHumanitarian Response Plan remains significantly underfunded and access remainsa 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.