Famine Victims in Northeast Nigeria Forecast to Double in 2017

  • People affected by famine forecast to reach 115,000 next year
  • Food insecurity persists mainly due to continuing conflict

Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno faces an elevated risk of famine, with the number of people affected forecast to roughly double to 115,000 in 2017, according to a food-monitoring agency.

A famine probably occurred between April and August in remote parts of Borno with limited access to food and health services, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, developed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, said in a statement on its website Friday. 

“There is an elevated likelihood that famine is ongoing and will continue in the inaccessible areas,” the body known as IPC said in the statement. “The main factor contributing to the widespread food insecurity is the persistence of conflict, which has resulted in mass displacements.” 

Severe food insecurity has also been driven by below-average crop production, disrupted livelihoods and the financial crisis linked to the depreciation of the naira, the agency said.

Borno is the epicenter of Islamist group Boko Haram’s insurgency, which has killed an estimated 20,000 people and displaced 2.4 million since 2009. The crash in oil prices since 2014 has put Nigeria on the brink of its first full-year contraction in more than two decades, while the naira has plummeted almost 40 percent against the dollar this year.

The IPC said humanitarian workers have helped improve access to food and called on the Nigerian government to “step-up its efforts in providing secure access for aid organizations in the affected zones.”