• Friday, April 19, 2024
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Nigerian Red Cross feeds 5,000, gifts cash in response to hunger crisis

Nigerian Red Cross feeds 5,000, gifts cash in response to hunger crisis

The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), in response to the hunger crisis in Nigeria has stepped up its efforts to provide vital support to vulnerable families in affected states. Approximately 5,000 households have already received cash support, addressing critical needs such as food, medicine, shelter, and income-generating activities.

The most severely impacted by the crisis are children, women, and the elderly, according to a statement on its website. Over 26 million people in the country currently face uncertainty about their next meal, with thousands of children experiencing severe malnutrition, leading to health challenges and, tragically, in many cases, death.

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While the NRCS has reached households in seven states, the scale of the crisis demands further action. The organisation is expanding its operations to cover 11 states where the number of acutely hungry people is on the rise.

Furthermore, Abubakar Ahmed Kende, Secretary General of NRCS, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “More than half of the states in Nigeria are presently food insecure, and the hunger crisis has reached alarming levels. Increased insecurity, inflation, extreme weather patterns, and global conflicts continue to drive hunger.”

In a plea for immediate attention, Kende highlighted the impact of rising fuel prices, leading to hyperinflation and soaring food prices beyond the reach of many Nigerians. He stressed that around 26.5 million Nigerians, including women and children, urgently require assistance to prevent death and prolonged suffering.

To address this critical situation, the Red Cross has partnered with Ecobank to launch a local resource mobilization initiative for the hunger crisis appeal. Kende noted that the partnership aims to raise funds locally to support the appeal, providing relief to those affected by the crisis.

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Children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, with nearly 4.41 million children and 585,000 mothers facing acute malnutrition. Kende highlighted the devastating impact, revealing that approximately 1,000 Nigerian children die daily from malnutrition-related causes.

The NRCS, with its 800,000-strong community-based volunteers across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, is prepared to respond to humanitarian needs, even in the most difficult-to-access communities and conditions.

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Also, Kende called upon individuals, groups, businesses, and organizations to join efforts in supporting the government’s critical endeavor. He stated, “Together, we can make a difference, provide hope, and save lives. Let us stand united in the face of this humanitarian crisis and alleviate the suffering and hunger of the Nigerian people.”

The Red Cross, in collaboration with Ecobank, aims to raise funds locally to address urgent needs, including multipurpose cash for emergency relief and recovery, nutritional support for pregnant and lactating mothers, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives, and livelihood programs to reduce diseases and infections.

Recognizing the severity of the situation, the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and NRCS launched a 4.1 million Swiss Francs appeal in June 2021. The emergency appeal has already reached over 30,000 beneficiaries, providing crucial support through multipurpose cash transfers and nutritional assistance to pregnant and lactating women.

As the hunger crisis persists, the IFRC and NRCS have scaled up the Hunger Crisis Emergency Appeal to reach 2.5 million people, acknowledging the broader impact across the region. The partnership with Ecobank underscores the vital role that corporate entities can play in contributing to the welfare of the nation.