By Gabriel Olawale
The new United Nations fund set up to tackle the looming famine in crisis-ridden areas in Nigeria and avoid a deepening humanitarian crisis has reached $24 million.
The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) – projected to receive $80 million by year-end and is one of 18 country-based pooled funds – allows donors to pool their contributions for a stronger and timelier response to the needs of those most affected by the ongoing crisis, including millions who face high risk of food insecurity and disease outbreaks.
This year, the UN and partners are aiming to reach 6.9 million people with life-saving aid in the northeast of Nigeria in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, which are those most affected by the humanitarian emergency triggered by the violence that has affected the region in recent years.
The appeal for 2017, detailed in the Humanitarian Response Plan, is for $1.05 billion, making it the 4th largest single-country appeal globally.
“We need to do more, we need to do it quicker and we can always do better,” said Mr. Peter Lundberg, the Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria. “Funding for the Nigeria appeal this year is pivotal, and I am delighted that donors are fulfilling commitments to the new fund, which will help us respond quicker to new priorities.
“But we need to step up our collective response – the $1 billion appeal is still only 20 per cent funded and millions need help in what is Africa’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
The NHF was launched during the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in February. Managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on behalf of the HC, it plays a vital role in ensuring an effective, coordinated, prioritized and principled humanitarian response in Nigeria.
The NHF provides funding to international and national NGOs, UN agencies, funds and programmes, and Red Cross/Red Crescent organisations, with a focus on the front-line responders.
To date the NHF has received $24 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of Sweden, Germany, Norway, Belgium, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, the Arab Gulf Programme for Development, Malta and Sri Lanka.