(New York/Abuja, 27 June 2016): United Nations humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien has released US$13 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide life-saving assistance to 250,000 people in areas of north-east Nigeria that have just become accessible.
The destruction of crops and looting of livestock have left many people unable to support their families. More than 50,000 people need seeds and tools for the upcoming planting season and CERF funding will help them to rebuild their livelihoods. A significant number of women and girls, and also men and boys, have suffered or witnessed terrible abuses; CERF funds will enable humanitarian partners to provide critical psychosocial support and protection services.
“People have experienced unspeakable suffering due to the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram. We now have better access finally, and a chance to help them,” said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien. “The international community must take advantage of this opening to reach people with essential services and build on the CERF allocation to scale up the response”.
CERF funds will support the provision of food, cash for food purchase, special child nutritional supplements, protection and health services to the most vulnerable people in the newly accessible areas through disbursements to FAO, UNDSS, UNFPA, UNHAS, UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP.
“The humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria is massive and alarming: 15 million people are affected by the violence instigated by Boko Haram including 7 million people who need urgent humanitarian assistance,” said Munir Safieldin, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator. “Unless we scale up now, 7 to 8 children will die of severe acute malnutrition every hour; 184 children will die every day. We need resources now to scale up our current response”.
The Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria was revised upwards by $51 million in June and is now calling for $279 million. To date, it is only 22 per cent funded.
Since 2015, CERF has supported life-saving assistance in response to Boko Haram-related violence with more than $58 million, bringing the total CERF support to more than $70 million with this new injection of funds. Some $27 million was allocated in March 2015 to assist more than 1.6 million internally displaced people, refugees, returnees and host communities in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. An additional $31 million was provided in early 2016 to help 700,000 people in the Lake Chad Basin.
CERF is a pooled fund that supports rapid humanitarian response. Donors preposition funds with CERF so that money is available immediately to kick-start relief operations in new emergencies and to provide live-saving assistance in crises that are underfunded. At mid-year, donors have contributed $248 million to CERF for 2016 and CERF has allocated nearly the same amount, responding to high demand from humanitarian partners. New contributions are urgently needed.