According to a report released on Wednesday by the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), Nigeria and three other countries (Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen) face risk of famine in 2017.
The agency supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said that the Boko Haram crisis continues to contribute to large scale population displacement, limit market activity and restrict normal livelihoods.
FEWS NET added that an estimated 70million people across 45 countries will require emergency food assistance in 2017.
“Food insecurity during 2017 will be driven primarily by three factors. Most importantly, persistent conflict is disrupting livelihoods, limiting trade, and restricting humanitarian access across many regions, including the Lake Chad Basin, the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, the Great Lakes Region, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” the report stated.
“A second important driver is drought, especially those driven by the 2015/16 El Nino and the 2016/17 La Nina. In Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa, significantly below-average rainfall has sharply reduced crop harvests and severely limited the availability of water and pasture for livestock. In Central Asia, snowfall to date has also been below average, potentially limiting the water available for irrigated agriculture during 2017.
“Finally, economic instability, related to conflict, a decline in foreign reserves due to low global commodity prices, and associated currency depreciation have contributed to very high staple food prices in Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan, and Yemen.”
The report stated that the persistent lack of access to food and income over the past 3 years has left people in these countries with little or no resistance to future shocks.
Therefore, to prevent the further occurrence of 2016 famine experienced in North-East Nigeria, efforts must be made to resolve the Boko Haram conflict and improve humanitarian access to displaced households.