- Title: Famine killing tens of thousands in Boko Haram region - U.N.
- Date: 30th September 2016
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (SEPTEMBER 30, 2016) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR THE SAHEL, TOBY LANZER, SAYING: "I know it's difficult, there are many crises, but if we do not engage in a much more comprehensive manner, including scaling up our emergency relief programmes, what awaits us down the line is the biggest crisis facing any of us anywhere."
- Embargoed: 15th October 2016 14:55
- Keywords: Boko Haram Nigeria Africa United Nations famine starvation conflict children MSF UNICEF
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / BAMA, BORNO STATE & BANKI, NIGERIA
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / BAMA, BORNO STATE & BANKI, NIGERIA
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: United Nations
- Reuters ID: LVA00551RDYRR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Tens of thousands of people are dying of hunger in the area of West Africa where Boko Haram militants are active, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the region told a news conference on Friday (September 30).
About 65,000 people are in a "catastrophe" or "phase 5" situation, according to a food security assessment by the IPC, the recognised classification system on declaring famines.
Phase 5 applies when, even with humanitarian assistance, "starvation, death and destitution" are evident.
Boko Haram militants have killed about 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million in a seven-year insurgency and they still launch deadly attacks despite having been pushed out of the vast swathes of territory they controlled in 2014.
In August UNICEF said nearly half a million children around Lake Chad are likely to suffer "severe acute malnutrition" due to drought and insurgency Boko Haram.
Of those, 49,000 people in Nigeria's Borno state, Boko Haram's heartland, will die this year if they do not receive treatment, according to the United Nations' child agency, which is appealing for $308 million to cope with the crisis.
"Maybe as many as 80,000 children, will die, in the Northeast of Nigeria, unless we can reach them with very specialised therapeutic food," U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, said.
In Borno, nearly two thirds of hospitals and clinics had been partially or completely destroyed and three-quarters of water and sanitation facilities needed to be rehabilitated, the UNICEF report added.
Despite the military gains, 2.2 million people remained trapped in areas under the control of Boko Haram, which is trying to establish a mediaeval caliphate in the southern reaches of the Sahara.
One aid agency reported back from the Nigerian town of Bama that its staff had counted the graves of about 430 children who had died of hunger in the past few weeks, Lanzer said.
With millions more short of food in northern Nigerian and regions of the adjoining countries, the situation could get much worse, and could turn into the "biggest crisis facing any of us anywhere", he said.
Across the Lake Chad region, more than 6 million people are described as "severely food insecure", including 4.5 million in Nigeria, he said.
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