We’ll Do Whatever It Takes To Save World’s Excluded Children – SCUK CEO

Thursday 24 November 2016

Save the Children recently disclosed in a new conference with the media in Nigeria that the organisation will help support children in the developing countries with Nigeria as top priority.

Speaking with Journalist in Abuja recently, the Chief Executive, ‘Save the Children’, United Kingdom, Mr Kevin Watkins raised concern over the condition of children in the North East saying that they urgently need humanitarian assistance.

He noted that children have been in critical condition since the invasion of insurgency in the north east where over 1.8 million people are internally displaced.

Watkins similarly enjoined the federal government to collaborate with international communities to help resolve the tragedy.

He said that over 400,000 children face severe acute malnourishment with over 65,000 people estimated to being in famine-like condition stressing that the condition in the north east is horrifying and therefore, needed urgent attention.

Watkins, who lamented that out of 1.4 million people displaced in the North East, Maiduguri specifically, more than 400,000 children are severely malnourished.
The chief executive said that Nigeria was not a poor country to have allowed this crisis lingered for over two years, adding that the situation can be avoided.

He said that allocation of more resource and political commitment to the crises would have ended it.

“I will not say that it is the crises that is responsible for this situation because the crises has been on for over two years.

“I expect that a lot of parents who were displaced for over two to three years now still do not have opportunities to cater for their families and these children are still malnourished,’’ Watkins said.

He said that young children are succumbing to hunger and diseases daily with hundreds of their graves discovered in newly accessible areas.

Watkins said that without an immediate and rapid scale up of the response, 75,000 children would die from malnutrition related cause next year.

Describing the situation as immediate tragedy, he however called for support from international community to help resolve this crisis.

Watkins said that one third of the humanitarian responses have been funded by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union.

He called on the intervention of Japan, Germany, France and Italy to address this tragedy.

“I assure you that Save the Children is committed to address this crisis in Borno and other areas in Nigeria as well.

“The international community should support Nigeria to help resolve this immediate tragedy.

“My hope is that the international community would step up interventions and also Nigeria will partner with international community in tackling this unfolding crisis,’’ he said.

Similarly, Mr Ben Foot, Save the Children’s Country Director in Nigeria, said that the INGO has been working diligently for two years to assist children in desperate need.

He noted that the organisation had since the start of the emergency response in 2014 reached over 200,000 children through its humanitarian response in Nigeria.

He stressed the need for adequate resources to respond to scale up the ratio.

He also advocated for urgent scaling up response in a complex and insecure environment.

“Save the Children launched a response to crisis in 2014 and was one of the NGOs to provide life saving assistance in Borno and Gombe where there are currently 1.6 displaced people.

“Since then we have reached more than 300,000 people including 200,000 children. In Borno we are currently working in Hawul, Kaga, Jere and Konduga local government areas,’’ Foot said.