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Operational costs for Nigeria, others to go up by $136m -UN

Operational costs for Nigeria, others to go up by $136m -UN
Written by Maritime First

UN World Food Programme (WFP) says the humanitarian operational costs for Nigeria and other West African countries are expected to go up by 136 million dollars as a result of the rise in fuel and food prices.

WFP on Thursday said the conflict in Ukraine had driven up global food and fuel prices, which is affecting efforts to feed millions in West Africa, where hunger levels have reached a 10-year high.

According to the agency, operational costs for 2022 are set to rise by 136 million dollars in the region alone, just as acute hunger has quadrupled over the past three years, with 43 million people expected to face acute food insecurity by June.

WFP said this additional cost could have been used to provide six million school children with a daily nutritious meal for six months.

It stated that the cost would have been used for school children at a time when millions of families are struggling, due to the unprecedented food crisis driven by conflict, climate, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and now rising prices.

“Soaring food and fuel prices will not only put millions at risk of hunger; they are also forcing WFP into an impossible situation of having to take from the hungry to feed the starving,” Mr Chris Nikoi, Regional Director for Western Africa said.

Before the war in Ukraine, limited funding was already forcing WFP to cut rations in Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, and Niger.

“With the unfolding conflict in Ukraine, ports and suppliers are no longer accessible with shipments from the wider Black Sea delayed or simply cancelled, affecting WFP’s operations in Western Africa,” he added.

People in Ghana are already feeling the pinch.

Elizabeth Arhinful has a stall in Agbogbloshie market, one of the busiest trading hubs in the country.

The record rise in food prices means customers are buying less.

“In August 2021, for a gallon of oil, you would pay 105 Ghana cedis (around $13). But in 2022, less than a year later, it has gone up to 400 cedis (around $52),” she said.

Elvira Pruscini, WFP Regional Deputy Director, warned of the potentially dire consequences of the food and nutrition crisis.

“Rising food prices will drive more people into hunger.

Rising food prices will actually cause food riots, political instability, social unrest, as we have seen in the past decade,” she said.

WFP is scaling up its response in the face of this new crisis to reach 22 million people in West Africa.

This includes eight million in dire food needs across five Sahelian countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali Mauritania, and Niger.

Assistance will run from the agricultural lean season starting in June, through the post-harvest period in October.

To meet needs, WFP urgently requires an additional 951 million dollars over the next six months, though Nikoi stressed the need for longer-term solutions.

“We need to ramp up our lifesaving assistance to limit the impact of the crisis on vulnerable families,” he said.

“But this vital emergency support has to be accompanied by longer-term interventions, by strengthening national systems and the resilience of communities, to reduce humanitarian needs over time and pave the way toward sustainable solutions to hunger and malnutrition.”

 

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Maritime First