OSLO, FEBRUARY 24 – With an extraordinary aid package worth 30 millions in three years Italy will support a new humanitarian effort for the Lake Chad region. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Giro announced the initiative aiming to bring assistance to the populations of northeastern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, western Chad and southeast Niger, all countries of origin or transit of the migration crisis.
Giro is representing the Italian government at the conference convened by Norway, Nigeria, Germany and the United Nations. The Italian funds, the DM explained on his Facebook page, will support international efforts to cope with malnutrition in the border areas among the four countries. “We hope we’ll leave Oslo today with firm commitments so that we will prevent famine”, the WFP representative Abdou Dieng said.
The UN aims to raise up to 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in commitments throughout 2017. One of the poorest regions in the world, the area around Lake Chad has been ravaged by eight years of violence. Schools, dispensaries and agriculture are in ruins, and people have been forced to flee jihadists on foot without any resources.
Across northeast Nigeria, some 5.1 million people face severe food shortages and nearly 500,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition, even as the military makes gains against the group.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, meeting with non-governmental organisations on Thursday, called it “one of the more forgotten conflicts” on the planet. “The displacement crisis in Northeastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region has really become unfortunately a very serious food and nutrition emergency,” Brende said, adding that more than 10 million people are in need of assistance: “Some parts of Northeastern Nigeria may unfortunately already experience famine”. (@OnuItalia)