Despite improvements in the humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad region, millions continue to remain dependent on lifesaving assistance, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said, urging greater international support for the region to safeguard the progress achieved.
"The humanitarian situation is still bad, but it is better. It is better because of the steps the governments of the region have taken to improve access and because you, the international community, have financed the humanitarian agencies to reach 6 million people and reduce their suffering over the last year," Lowcock said in his opening remarks at the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region in Germany's capital Berlin on Monday.
Earlier, a UN-backed conference in Oslo, Norway, donors pledged over $650 million toward emergency assistance programs in 2017 and beyond. These resources helped achieve a significant scale-up in the humanitarian response, reaching more than six million people with assistance, and averting a famine in northeast Nigeria.
However, humanitarian needs continue to grow and so do the resources needed to respond. Of the $1.58 billion required for 2018, only about $600 million, or 38 percent, has been received as of July 25.
The appeal we had on the humanitarian response plan this year has been generously financed but not to the degree where any of us can be comfortable that we can meet the needs of the people we can reach, still less of those we are still trying to reach, the UN relief chief said, urging additional funding and resources.
Some 10 million people across the four countries of the Lake Chad Basin � Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and Chad � remain dependent on assistance. At the same time relief workers face severe challenges reaching the worst affected due to Boko Haram violence, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
If we can make more progress with peace building, good governance, the creation of jobs and education opportunities � and the respect of human rights � we work indeed with the underlying issues and this is what we need to do, Lowcock said.
The two-day conference, being organized by OCHA and the UN Development Program (UNDP) together with the governments of Germany, Nigeria and Norway, seeks to maintain the momentum from last year's Oslo conference and increase and expand international support.
Source: International Islamic News Agency