Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, on Tuesday, said the brutal years of Boko Haram insurgency had left a devastating impact on the children in northeast Nigeria.
Lake stated this in a statement issued on Tuesday in New York on the situation of children in northeast, Nigeria.
“The violent conflict in northeast Nigeria has left children severely malnourished and at risk of death.
“In the three worst-affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, farming has been disrupted and crops destroyed, food reserves depleted and often pillaged, and livestock killed or abandoned.
“In Borno, where the fighting has been most brutal, 75 per cent of the water and sanitation infrastructure and 30 per cent of all health facilities have been destroyed, looted or damaged.
“The impact on children is devastating.
“We estimate that 400,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition over the next year in the three affected states,” he said.
According to him, if the children do not receive the treatment they need, one in five will die from cases of diarrhoea, malaria or pneumonia which are on the rise.
“These figures represent only a fraction of the suffering. Large areas of Borno state are completely inaccessible to any kind of humanitarian assistance. We are extremely concerned about the children trapped in these areas.
“We are making a difference in the areas we can reach. With the World Food Programme and other partners, we are treating acutely malnourished children.”
He explained that UNICEF and other aid agencies and partners are vaccinating children against measles and polio and are providing safe water and sanitation services.
“But this is nowhere close to enough.
“Without adequate resources and without safe access, we and our partners will be unable to reach children whose lives are at imminent risk.
“What is already a crisis can become a catastrophe,” the UNICEF chief said. (NAN)