In Brief

Nigeria famine puts lives of 75,000 children at risk, says UN

Millions of people are struggling to cope after Boko Haram laid waste to the north east of the country

Nigeria is facing a humanitarian crisis as it struggles to cope with the fallout from Boko Haram's jihadist insurgency, according to the United Nations, which predicts that 14 million people will need aid in 2017.

Of that number, 400,000 children are in critical need of assistance, while 75,000 could die in the "few months ahead of us", UN humanitarian co-ordinator Peter Lundberg told a press conference in Nigeria's capital Abuja on Tuesday.

But the UN has not declared a "level three emergency", the classification for the most severe crisis, despite a warning of "famine-like conditions" from the World Food Programme.

"The humanitarian response hasn't scaled up adequately to meet a growing demand for food," says analyst Roddy Barclay in The Guardian. Ryan Cummings, of intelligence firm Signal Risk, agrees. "The scale of the humanitarian disaster in north-east Nigeria has been grossly underestimated," he warns.

Islamic fundamentalists from Boko Haram have laid waste to the north east of the country, around Borno state, since taking up arms against the federal government in 2009. BBC News says that tens of thousands have died and more than two million have been displaced, with major disruptions to farming and trade.

But a new report suggests the formation of a regional force to combat Boko Haram, with troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, is gaining ground against the militants.

The New York Times refers to a study by the International Crisis Group which says the jihadists - who controlled an area the size of Belgium in north east Nigeria last year - have since suffered a string of defeats.

"We've seen a dizzying downwards spiral in the number of attacks and suicide bombings," said Hans De Marie Heungoup, one of the report's authors. But those left behind have been suffering without water, food and sanitation.

Infographic by www.statista.com for TheWeek.co.uk.

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