London, UK, May 26, 2021 — A new International Rescue Committee (IRC) report on global hunger argues that without immediate action, an estimated 270 million people will be at risk of acute food insecurity in 2021. It unveils that the world’s poorest people, particularly women and girls, displaced people and marginalised groups, are likely to be the hardest hit. The economic shock caused by COVID-19 places an additional 35 million people at risk of hunger this year.
In this context, The Prince of Wales virtually visited IRC programmes in northeast Nigeria and met doctors at Mashamari Stabilisation Centre in Maiduguri, where the IRC treats children with malnutrition. During this virtual visit, His Royal Highness notes in a video released today that “at a time when humanitarian needs have increased by 40% in the last year alone, the IRC’s work has never been more critical.”
His Royal Highness, who is Patron of IRC UK, heard during his virtual visit to the centre, that in north-eastern Nigeria, the effects of COVID-19 are clearly profound and could in the worst-case scenario, push the country towards extreme hunger this year, if humanitarian aid does not reach those who actually need it the most.
The Prince notes that: “Conflict remains by far the largest driver of hunger, and the climate crisis, of course, helps to compound this. And then again, on top of it all, you have the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a devastating impact on the countries who can least afford it.”
In north-eastern Nigeria, humanitarian needs are rising due to unabating conflict, climate change, and now COVID-19. Violence by armed groups is increasing and many newly displaced Nigerians are arriving in cities and towns in need of urgent services. It is expected that about 5.1 million people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states will be food insecure by July 2021.
Last week, the IRC’s new report outlined the immediate steps that G7 and other world leaders must take to avert an unprecedented global hunger crisis. In addition to urgently removing barriers to humanitarian access and increasing aid to fund lifesaving treatment for malnutrition, the IRC has estimated that $2.3 billion in humanitarian cash funding is required to break the cycle of hardship and hunger that threatens to overwhelm crisis-affected countries.
Melanie Ward, Executive Director of IRC UK, said: “We are extremely grateful for His Royal Highness’s support as we work to bring urgent assistance to the most vulnerable, including women and children in a context of rising global hunger. We are doing so in a particularly challenging environment, when people are facing mounting levels of hunger, and the UK Government is cutting humanitarian aid by 40%. We are calling for the UK to show global leadership when the Government hosts the upcoming G7 leaders’ summit – and rally commitments to ending the hunger crisis.”
You can download the video here.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people affected by humanitarian crises to survive, recover and rebuild their lives. We deliver lasting impact by providing health care, helping children learn, and empowering individuals and communities to become self-reliant, always with a focus on the unique needs of women and girls.
Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, we now work in over 40 crisis-affected countries as well as communities throughout Europe and the Americas. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.