By Gabriel Ewepu
THE Food and Agri-culture Organisation yesterday raised alarm over deepened hunger crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, which 7.1 million people are now endangered.
This was revealed by the Director, Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, FAO, Dominique Burgeon, in view of the upcoming United Nations, UN, agencies and governments Oslo Summit that will focus on tackling expanding humanitarian emergency.
Burgeon said famine will continue to ravish the over 7.1 million people living in the region if farming activities will not resume and whose population has about 90 per cent farmers.
He said: “In the worst-affected areas, famine continues to loom — and millions will remain trapped in cycles of severe hunger if we don’t enable farmers to start cropping now. “Our collective efforts cannot be limited to merely avoiding massive famine they need to allow people to return to a dignified life. And supporting agriculture is the key to both.
“Besides reducing hunger and boosting nutrition, investing in farmers also provides much needed job opportunities that reduce migration and limit the potential for radicalisation of unemployed youth.”
FAO collaborates with the World Food Programme, WFP, to ensure vulnerable families, mainly IDPs and host communities receive food assistance, and at the same time agriculture-based livelihood support in the form of provision of seeds, tools and fertiliser.
The Oslo Humanitarian Conference targets mobilisation of international funding for the crisis-struck region, where 80 to 90 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods, where now 515, 000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, which poses a dangerous condition which if untreated can lead to permanent damage to a child’s development and even death.