75,000 children at risk of starving to death in Nigeria within months: UN

London [United Kingdom], Nov. 16 : The United Nations said on Tuesday that 75,000 children are at the risk of dying in "a few months" due to starvation in Nigeria following the Boko Haram insurgency in country's ravaged north-east parts.

Waste has been left to the impoverished region by the Boko Haram jihadists ever since they took up on arms against the government in 2009 which has led to the displacement of millions and has disrupted farming and trade in the region.

Insurgency has taken a brutal toll with more than 20,000 people dead, 2.6 million displaced, and famine taking root despite the fact that Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, has reclaimed territory from the Islamists.

According to UN humanitarian coordinator Peter Lundberg, the crisis was unfolding at "high speed". "Our assessment is that 14 million people are identified as in need of humanitarian assistance" by 2017, The Guardian quoted Lundberg as saying in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Of them, 400,000 children are in critical need of assistance, while 75,000 could die "in [the] few months ahead of us", he added.

The UN hopes to target half of the 14 million people and the Nigerian government working to reach the rest.

However, Lundberg said that the UN cannot avert the crisis as it does not have enough money. Calling on international partners, the private sector and Nigerian philanthropists to "join hands" to tackle the problem, Lundberg said, "We need to reach out to the private sector, to the philanthropists in Nigeria." "We will ask international partners to step in because we can only solve this situation if we actually join hands," he said.

The UN has not declared a "level three" emergency, the classification for the most severe crisis which would draw more attention and desperately needed funds to Nigeria even though the World Food Programme warning of "famine-like conditions." "The humanitarian response hasn't scaled up adequately to meet a growing demand for food, particularly in the more remote camps in the north-east," said Roddy Barclay, an intelligence analyst at consultancy firm Africa Practice.

Source: ANI