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UN food programme targets Nigeria, others

The United Nations World Food Programme has launched a new initiative to provide life-saving food and nutrition assistance to eight countries in West and Central Africa, aiming to support 7.3 million people during the current lean season.

The program will target Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Nigeria, with the possibility of expanding to 12 million people if funding allows.

The region is facing a severe food security and nutrition crisis, with nearly 55 million people projected to face acute hunger during the June-August lean season, a fourfold increase from 2019.

Malnutrition has reached alarming levels, with an estimated 17 million acutely malnourished children under five.

According to Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for Western Africa, the crisis highlights the need for transformative solutions that address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition.

“The alarming levels of hunger in the region underscore the urgent need for solutions that help vulnerable families meet their immediate food needs while building a brighter future,” he said.

The WFP’s lean season response focuses on meeting the immediate food and nutrition needs of those most exposed to acute hunger, including refugees, displaced people, severely food insecure individuals, and those living in areas affected by climatic, economic, and security crises.

However, funding for humanitarian operations has not kept pace with the growing needs, leaving millions of food insecure families without assistance.

The WFP warned that without durable solutions, the cycle of humanitarian crises will continue to worsen.

To address this crisis, regional leaders must prioritize sustainable solutions that strengthen food security, improve agricultural productivity, and cushion economic shocks.

This includes investing in programs that support farmers, improve access to markets, and promote economic stability.

By doing so, vulnerable families will have access to food and nutrition throughout the year.

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