From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United Kingdom (UK), has brokered the first G7 action plan geared towards the provision of humanitarian assistance, particularly the combating of hunger in the northeast to the tune of £276 million.
The support, the United Kingdom said, will ensure people in crisis-ridden areas will have access to food, clean water and sanitation and that children have access to lifesaving malnutrition treatment and that all civilians are protected from violence.
The amount which was part of a global £5 billion aid to 42 countries who were one step from famine or catastrophe, had £1 billion prioritised to three countries at greatest risk, namely: Yemen (£578), South Sudan (£246) and Nigeria (£276).
The Nigeria Policy and Communications Manager, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, British High Commission, Abuja, Elva Lynch-Bathgate, disclosed the development in a statement issued in Abuja.
Lynch-Bathgate added that Tigray in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso and the Central Sahel, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Sudan and Syria were also of particular concern to the G7.
Reacting to the move by the G7 to stem the spate of humanitarian crisis in the Northeast, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said: ‘I welcome the G7’s commitment of £276 million for North East Nigeria. It is vital we act now to avert further deterioration in the food security situation of millions of people affected by the conflict.
‘Just as the UK is working with Nigerian partners to find solutions to the crisis in the North East, the G7 are working together to find global solutions to global problems and protect those hardest hit by these challenges. Together we can shape a better future.’
Lynch-Bathgate further recalled that the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, had announced last week at the end of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers Meeting that the UK was driving coordinated action to tackle shared global challenges of COVID-19, famine and climate change.
Lynch-Bathgate stated that at the meeting which took place in London, the G7 countries agreed action to protect the most vulnerable people around the world from climate-related disasters, help millions of people at imminent risk of famine, humanitarian crises and ensure equitable access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.
‘The triple threat of conflict, COVID-19 and climate change has meant the risk of famine is now a devastating reality many countries face. Millions of people in Yemen, South Sudan and North East Nigeria are already in crisis.
‘The crisis in North East Nigeria is more than a decade old. According to UN OCHA, there are 8.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance there. 1.9 million people have been displaced from their homes and one million people are in areas outside humanitarian access. In North East Nigeria, 4.36 million people are projected to be in crisis and emergency levels of food security this lean season (June-August). The UK is seriously concerned about the status of civilians living in the inaccessible areas, over 800,000 people of whom are reaching critical levels of food insecurity and have extremely limited access to basic services such as healthcare.
‘On Wednesday, the UK coordinated a landmark commitment by G7 countries to tackle the root causes of famine and address the sharply rising numbers of people in need of lifesaving aid. This agreement commits G7 nations to urgently provide an initial £5 billion in humanitarian assistance to 42 countries one step from catastrophe or famine, with further funding to follow over the course of this year. The initial funding includes £1 billion in aid prioritised to the three countries at greatest risk – Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria – to be provided as soon as possible to save lives,’ the statement read.