75,000 children in Nigeria could starve to death within months, says UN

In Nigeria, 75,000 children risk dying in “a few months” as hunger grips the country’s ravaged north-east in the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency, the United Nations warned on Tuesday.

Boko Haram jihadists have laid waste to the impoverished region since taking up arms against the government in 2009, displacing millions and disrupting farming and trade.

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu
Buhari, has reclaimed territory from the Islamists but the insurgency has taken a brutal toll, with more than 20,000 people dead, 2.6 million displaced, and famine taking root.

UN humanitarian coordinator Peter
Lundberg said the crisis was unfolding at “high speed”.

“Our assessment is that 14 million
people are identified as in need of
humanitarian assistance” by 2017,
Lundberg said in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Of them, 400,000 children are in critical need of assistance, while 75,000 could die “in [the] few months ahead of us”, Lundberg said.

The UN hopes to target half of the 14 million people – a population bigger than that of Belgium – with the Nigerian government working to reach the rest.

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