> By FUNMI FALOBI<
Reprieve is in the offing for over five million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as the United States government, through its Agency for International Development (USAID) on Wednesday announced that it will provide more than $37 million in additional humanitarian assistance to people affected by the ongoing conflict and severe food insecurity in Nigeria and throughout the Lake Chad Basin.
The new funding to United Nations and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) partners will help tens of thousands of people receive critically needed humanitarian assistance, including food, water, shelter, and services to address acute hygiene, protection, and nutritional needs following the savagery of Boko Haram which has triggered a humanitarian crisis in Nigeria and surrounding countries in the Lake Chad Basin region.. Despite gradually improving security conditions, the humanitarian situation remains dire as families have been driven from their homes, millions are left without enough to eat, and human rights abuses are widespread. Throughout the region, approximately five million people need emergency food assistance, and 2.5 million people are displaced.
Three senior USAID officials—Nigeria Mission Director Michael Harvey, U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Director Jeremy Konyndyk and Office of Food for Peace Deputy Director Matt Nims—made the announcement following a trip to the country’s northeast, where the humanitarian needs are the most acute. With this announcement, the United States is providing more than $318 million in humanitarian assistance since FY 2015 to the Lake Chad Basin region and continues to be the single largest humanitarian donor to the region. The food assistance will be delivered to conflict-affected communities in the Diffa Region of Niger, including populations who fled their homes following the recent attacks in Bosso. This new food assistance will be coordinated with the humanitarian community in Nigeria to scale up the overall regional food response.
In addition to humanitarian funding, USAID provides targeted assistance that seeks to reduce extreme poverty and improve the quality of life for Nigeria’s most vulnerable communities through improved governance and civic participation at the federal, state, and local levels; reduced corruption; a strengthened private sector as a source of job creation; and improved quality of social service delivery.