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Northeast edging closer to famine – NRC

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The food crisis in north-eastern Nigeria is expected to deteriorate between now and the end of August, moving the country closer to famine, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has warned.

The NRC quotes food security experts as saying they anticipate a rise in the number of people threatened by severe hunger in the region to rise from 4.7 million to 5.2 million by the end of August.

This includes 50,000 people forecast to be affected by famine-like conditions, according to the latest UN Food and Agriculture Organization Global Early Warning report.

The region is worst-affected by the insurgency by militant Isalmist group Boko Haram.

Cheick Ba, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Country Director in Nigeria, says that the food crisis is being driven by armed conflict and violence.

“Insecurity is preventing people from farming, and restricting access to local markets. This is depleting grain stocks and pushing food prices beyond people’s reach, with devastating consequences for affected families, including 450,000 acutely malnourished children,” said Cheick Ba, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Country Director in Nigeria.

The region is worst-affected by the insurgency waged by militant Islamist group Boko Haram, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Mr Ba said the crisis was caused by a man-made conflict and needed a man-made solution.

“Providing people with food is only a short term solution. The crisis will only end when the conflict has been resolved and communities can safely return to their land to rebuild their lives,” he added.