Despite the attack by Boko Haram insurgents on a humanitarian convoy in which a worker of the United Nations Children’s Fund was injured, the agency on Saturday said it had continued to provide assistance to millions of conflict-affected children in North East Nigeria.
A statement by UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough, said travel by United Nations staff to high-risk areas had been temporarily suspended.
Gough said, “We are working at full strength in the Borno state capital Maiduguri. We continue to call for increased efforts to reach people in desperate need across the state. We cannot let this heartless attack divert any of us from reaching the more than two million people who are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance.
Despite the temporary suspension of travel to high risk areas, UNICEF plans to scale-up its response in Borno state substantially. At the beginning of the year, UNICEF appealed for $55m for its emergency work, of which $23m has so far been received.”
UNICEF had called on donors and humanitarian organizations to scale-up the response to the emerging disaster in Borno state, which is the most affected by the conflict with Boko Haram.
Before the attack, UNICEF said security conditions had been improving in several areas.
“Our teams were finding people living on the brink of disaster. The violence has disrupted farming and markets, destroyed food stocks, and damaged or destroyed health and water facilities. We absolutely have to reach more of these communities”, Gough stated.
According to UNICEF, about 244,000 children would suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year in Borno state alone, adding “and if they are not reached with treatment, one in five of them will die.”
UNICEF has provided two million people with health services and treated 56,000 children for malnutrition in the three conflict-affected states of North East Nigeria.
“A quarter of a million people have improved access to clean water, and over 200,000 children have been able to go back to school”, the agency stressed.