Why world leaders MUST act on the crisis in northeast Nigeria

The world is facing multiple crises right now, but many of these crises aren’t getting the attention they deserve—including the 49,000 children in northeast Nigeria that will die of starvation by the end of the year without emergency food aid.

World leaders are gathered in New York today for an emergency meeting to address the crisis in northeast Nigeria. These leaders must step up and address the immediate need, as well as pave a path toward long-term solutions.

“In Borno state in northeastern Nigeria, where I visited just a few weeks ago, they are warning that 49,000 kids will die in the next few months if emergency food aid does not arrive,” says ONE co-founder Bono. “This is madness. Images are coming out of the area of children on the brink of starvation—and world leaders are standing by, refusing to provide the funds needed to avert this disaster. Of the $739 million needed, the world is 75% short and these children’s lives are hanging in the balance.”

ONE worked with the media company ATTN: on a video to highlight the crisis in northeast Nigeria and why it’s so important to stand with Nigerians as they try to deal with the devastation wrought by Boko Haram:

Just yesterday, The New York Times published “Boko Haram Rages in Nigeria, but the World’s Eyes Are Elsewhere,” a story outlining the crisis and the lack of attention being paid to it. In the piece, Dionne Searcy writes that, while humanitarian assistance is on the ground, the United Nations can’t raise even a quarter of the amount of money it says it needs to help combat the problems caused by the Boko Haram conflict.

The World Bank estimated that US$6.7 billion will need to be invested in peace building, infrastructure, social services, and economic recovery to rebuild northeast Nigeria.

Nigerian philanthropist and businessman Aliko Dangote, who hosted Bono in northeast Nigeria, has also called for a “Marshall Plan” scale of investment for the region to deal with the short-term humanitarian crisis and the long-term jobs crisis. He has contributed so far, through the Aliko Dangote Foundation, more than $10 million of his own funds to provide food relief to Internally Displaced people (IDPs), and construction materials to help rebuilding efforts.

In a post this week, ONE’s Africa Executive Director Mwambu Wanendeya wrote that “With time, continued security, close coordination at all levels of government, open government process, and engagement by civilian, development, environment and health organizations, there is hope for northeast Nigeria to overcome current challenges and once again drive the region forward.”

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