The International Committee of the Red Cross has said COVID – 19 has increased the number of malnourished children in the country . It also lamented that the pandemic had reduced food production and led to reduction in food importation into the country . The ICRC , in its operational update released on Friday, it had seen an increase in malnutrition rates among children in centres it supports.
According to an ICRC release , one of its nutritionists , Thomas Ndambu , said , “ What we are seeing now is just the tip of an iceberg, and we are very concerned by the trend, especially in Maiduguri . I am certain that when Nigerian Red Cross volunteers resume their community outreach , the numbers will surge .”
The release claimed that the economic impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic put additional strain on the vulnerable communities in the North – East of Nigeria, where the decade – long armed conflict is severely hampering agricultural production and self – sufficiency of local farmers.
An Economic Security Programs Coordinator for the ICRC , Mwakiuna Muriungi, was also quoted as saying , “ Everywhere we work , the food prices have gone up; in some places , they doubled . It means that millions of people in the North -East of Nigeria do not have enough to eat. ”
ICRC regretted that almost two million people in the North – East are currently displaced and do not have access to their agricultural land and production tools, noting that in many areas of the Lake Chad region insecurity and movement restrictions have limited farmers ability to plant crops.