Nigeria’s North Eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, are to benefit a sum of 22.4million USD funding this year from the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF), to address vulnerability of inhabitants to the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of insurgency, the agency said on Tuesday.
The NHF was launched in February 2017 and managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with contributions received so far from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Sweden and Switzerland for urgent actions in 2020.
NHF coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said the $22.4million funding for the three Northeastern states of Nigeria in 2020 was the largest donation since the inception of the initiative in 2017.
While noting that the region had grappled with a decade-long insurgency which was worsened by COVID-19, Kallon expressed hope that the gesture will provide succour for the beneficiaries.
“Before and during the COVID-19 response, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund has proven to be a rapid and flexible funding tool enabling aid actors to adapt to fast-changing humanitarian emergencies. With the new coronavirus now spreading across the country, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund swiftly provided emergency funds to procure essential personal protective equipment for frontline aid workers when the pandemic reached Nigeria. This allocation will further support urgent efforts in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe”.
Kallon clarified that the NHF donation was just a fragment of the over $246million required in 2020 for COVID-19 specific humanitarian actions in the North-east, but said the figure was in addition to the $834 million funding needed to provide urgent aid to about 5.9 million people across the three conflict-affected states.
He added that the United Nations and humanitarian partners estimated that 7.9 million people were already in dire need of humanitarian assistance before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This number is expected to increase as the effects of the pandemic exacerbate humanitarian needs, including health services, food security and livelihoods. The impact of COVID-19 has made it even more essential for donors to contribute to the NHF and support aid organisations in adapting their response and providing critical life-saving assistance in North-east Nigeria”.
Meanwhile, Chinese President, Xi Jinping, will preside over an extraordinary China-Africa summit on solidarity against COVID-19 in Beijing on Wednesday. He is expected to deliver a keynote speech, a foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said Tuesday.
The summit was jointly proposed by China; South Africa, the rotating chair of the African Union (AU); and Senegal, co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and would hold via video link.
Leaders of African countries, including members of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government as well as rotating chairs of major African sub-regional organisations and chairperson of the AU Commission, are scheduled to attend the summit. Secretary-general of the UN and the Director-General, World Health Organisation will attend as special guests.