By Francis Okoye, Maiduguri
The United Nations hinted yesterday that its the 48 per cent increase in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) funding is key in addressing the development challenges in the North East zone of Nigeria.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in its monthly North East humanitarian situation report, noted that as at September, the HRP was 48 per cent funded, scale up in the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) from a 22 per cent as at April.
The report noted that this would go a long way in addressing some of the enormous humanitarian challenges in the North Eastern Nigeria.
The OCHA stated that in February this year, the United Nations under the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator launched the NHF, a country-Based Pool Fund (CBPF).
The Fund is to be managed by the UN OCHA in support of life-saving humanitarian and recovery operations in the region, following activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.
It stated that the NHF was timely and effective tool to support humanitarian action in Nigeria, allowing public and private donors to pool their contributions to enable the delivery of humanitarian lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable people.
It stated that the funding must be sustained to enable humanitarian partners meet the growing needs of displaced persons.
According to the report, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) established in 2017 is also enhancing multi-sectoral and multi-agency approaches by directing funding to strategic and jointly prioritized initiatives.
The report noted: “As one of the best funded pooled funds till date raising 25 million dollars, the first 10 million dollars disbursement was allocated to 15 prioritized projects covering protection, Shelter, Non Food Items, Health and Logistics in Borno and Adamawa States.
“The second allocation planned for this month aims to target key underfunded sectors to fill key gaps before the end of the year. The 2017 HRP appeals for 1.5 billion dollars to target 6.9 million people for humanitarian assistance.
“This target is based on the capacity of humanitarian partners, the level and quality of humanitarian access to the most affected people in need and the insecure environment.
“It must be acknowledged that the dedicated fundraising efforts and systematic outreach to strategic donors, the Oslo Humanitarian Conference, the UN Security Council mission and the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund have helped increase visibility of the underfunded crisis”.
OCHA added that by the end of July, over 90 humanitarian organisations had assisted over 4.5 million people with nutrition, food, shelter, health, education, water and sanitation support.
It stated that public partners, relief organisations and other key stakeholders involved in humanitarian response in Nigeria collectively expressed support for the establishment of the NHF as a strategic and vital tool to deliver the most urgent humanitarian relief.
It, however, noted that despite this progress, critical needs such as Shelter, Non Food Items, Protection, Health and Education remain severely underfunded.
It stated that the humanitarian community in Nigeria acknowledged the need to step away from business as usual and continue to make concerted efforts to strengthen coordination, increase effectiveness and bridge humanitarian divides where possible.
No Geo-political Zone Should Wish To Experience What North-east Faced – Gov Shettima
Meanwhile, Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, has said that no geo- political zone in the country should wish to experience what the North East faced in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents to necessitate a commission like the NEDC.
The governor who spoke with journalists noted that, having a Commission like the NEDC is a direct response to large-scale devastation, which no geo-political zone should wish to experience.
He said, “If you look at the whole thing systematically, development commissions are largely set in place to fast-track the recovery of huge economic losses.
“Borno, for instance, was taken 50 years backward by the destruction caused by Boko Haram. What the NEDC will set out to do is to help us accelerate the recovery of this backwardness so that the state recovers earlier than it would have taken us to recover. It is not something any section of the country should wish to experience.
“For President Buhari, I must confess that if Buhari wasn’t elected in 2015, only God knows what would have become of Borno and rest of the North-east. We have been on ground from 2011 to date, the difference between our present and the past in the North-east is no less than light and darkness”.
The governor added that everyone in Nigeria is talking about the North-east today mainly because President Buhari who is the number one citizen of the country is passionate about the stability, recovery and prosperity of the North-east.
Shettima continued: “Usually, every society goes with the body language of its charismatic leader. Since President Muhammadu Buhari became President in 2015, he has made determined efforts to reverse all the many years of neglect the Northeast suffered from 1979 to 2015.
“The President’s passion for the North-east is clearly understandable, because this is a region that has lost thousands of its precious sons and daughters and suffered destructions of public and private infrastructure worth $9 billio.
“That amount is over N3 trillion. Mind you, this amount is the product of a thorough and comprehensive assessment reportedly produced by the World Bank, in collaboration with the European Union and office of the Vice President, using ground and satellite images of what Boko Haram has destroyed.
“President Buhari is the greatest inspiration for us in the North-east because before he came on board, the North-east was gradually being forgotten in Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape.
“Don’t forget that even before the Boko Haram insurgency, the North-east geo-political zone was already the most backward in terms of attention by successive federal administrations, in terms of all indices of development, whether on maternal and infant mortality or poverty and what have you.
“So, we can never forget about the role President Buhari has played and is still making in the ongoing restoration of the North-east geo-political zone, and the signing of the North-east Development Commission Bill is only next to his strong determination to end the Boko Haram insurgency. As for the National Assembly members, we will remain grateful to them”.
WHO To Immunize 300,000 Against Cholera In Borno
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it will immunise 300,000 people against cholera in Borno.
This is contained in the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) humanitarian situation report for the Month of September.
It said that the organisation in collaboration with other health development partners would also conduct another round of Oral Cholera Vaccination (ORV) exercise in the state.
The report indicated that the immunization exercise would be conducted at Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps and host communities of Damasak, Banki, Bama, Gamburu, Ngala and Pulka.
It noted: “For the first time in Nigeria; an Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) was carried out between Sept. 18 and 22 to protect communities and prevent further spread of the disease. The first round campaign reached close to 850,000 people through combination of fixed and mobile strategies.
“The request for the additional vaccines is to be submitted to the International Coordination Group on Vaccines Provision pending the clearance and approval of the state and health authorities”.
The UN-OCHA report shows that 4,360 suspected or confirmed cholera cases and 60 related deaths were recorded in Borno in September.
The report further showed that 13,000 children had so far benefited from consultations and treatments of minor ailments, 41,752 children de-wormed and 32,930 received Vitamin A supplement, since the deployment of the teams to the state.
While 59,080 children were screened of malnutrition; 41,542 reached with health promotion messages, 626 women received antenatal care, 82 pre-natal care and 31 family planning consultations.
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