Nigeria, 24 countries to face hunger in coming months – UN report

 The United Nations Organisation in a report published on Friday by two of its agencies said Nigeria and 24 other countries were “set to face devastating hunger in the coming months due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 The UN agencies, World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, said in the report entitled, “Early Warning Analysis of Acute Food Security Hotspots” that the current decline in crude oil prices would also have far-reaching consequences on Nigeria to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and implement social safety net programmes.

 The report, sighted by our correspondent, said other vulnerable countries in Africa included Cameroon, Mali, Niger Republic, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Sudan.

 Other countries are in Asia and South America.

 The UN agencies said in the report, “The report published shows that people in some 25 countries are set to face devastating levels of hunger in coming months due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the greatest concentration of need is in Africa, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the Middle East and Asia – including middle-income countries – are also being ravaged by crippling levels of food insecurity.

 “The COVID-19 crisis is likely to have severe impacts on countries that rely on the export of commodities. In Nigeria, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to deepen social and economic hardship, further exacerbating an already dire food and nutrition-insecurity situation. COVID-19’s rapid spread is putting additional strains on an economy already impacted by the fall in oil prices, further affecting government revenues and foreign currency reserves, and increasing depreciation of the local currency.

 “This is likely to result in a rising cost of living and reduced purchasing power. In northeastern Nigeria, where over 2.5 million people are currently internally displaced, the security situation continues to deteriorate as extremist militants expand activities, while in the northwest of the country, insecurity is being compounded by the consolidation of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda affiliates.”
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