BY CHIOMA UMEHA
The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has said that has disbursed more cash support to vulnerable persons in seven Northern States.
A statement signed by Chima Nwakwo, Nigeria, Coordinator, Communications and Advocacy (NRCS) confirmed that the effort was carried out through the collaboration of the Nigerian Red Cross Society collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The statement noted the collaboration resulted in the successful disbursement of the second round of distribution of cash to support the livelihood of vulnerable persons who are facing acute hunger under its Nigeria Hunger Crisis Appeal.
The Nigerian Red Cross Society is taking action to fight hunger in North-West and North-Central Nigeria where it is estimated that about 19.4 million people will be facing acute hunger between June and August 2022 according to UNFAO. Affected persons were drawn from Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Nasarawa and Benue states.
The report, processed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development -FMARD and other stakeholders, analyses acute food and nutrition insecurity in the Sahel and West African region will affect Nigeria in 21 states and FCT.
The Secretary General of the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Abubakar Kende says: “the situation is critical and is one that needs immediate attention. Millions are being affected, particularly women, the elderly, and vulnerable children. A good number of them are now in a situation where they do not know where their next meal will come from, and this is something that concerns us greatly.”Kende further said, “we are grateful to our funding partners; The American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Japanese Red Cross and Netherlands Red Cross who have gone ahead to provide much needed resources to allow us reach the most vulnerable people in 7 states, however more support is still required as the funding gap is still huge vis a vie the needs.”
According to Mr. Benson Agbro, NRCS Disaster Management Coordinator, Cash support has been provided to 30,000 people (5,000 households) who are in dire need of humanitarian support and facing food insecurity due to combination of climate change, conflicts and COVID 19. The Hunger Crisis Appeal is targeting to reach 200,000 people in Nigeria.
He noted that the Nigerian Red Cross Society has also decided to make Mothers Club an integral part of the Hunger Crisis Emergency Appeal to teach mothers in local communities how to ensure proper nutrition for their children to reduce child mortality, prevent acute malnutrition as well as actions to take to always keep their children healthy.
Dr. Manir Jega, Coordinator, Health and Care, Nigerian Red Cross says: “We know that if mothers have better information, it will lead to healthier children and a better society, that is why we have set up 140 Mothers Club in the seven states. We are working closely with Federal Ministry of Health on this.”
The Nigerian Red Cross launched a 4.1million Swiss Francs Emergency Appeal in 2021 and is in the process of revising it upwards to meet the growing needs on the ground. Meeting the funding requirement has been a challenge due to the crisis in Ukraine which is now the focus for emergency relief around the world. However, this crisis is also worsening the Hunger situation in Nigeria, North and West Africa.