The Prince of Wales has warned that the work of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has never been more critical, amid the escalating need for humanitarian aid in Nigeria.
Charles, the patron of IRC UK, virtually visited doctors at the Mashamari Stabilisation Centre in Maiduguri, which is treating children suffering from malnutrition.
Humanitarian needs in north-east Nigeria are rising due to unabating conflict, climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, with 10.6 million people in need of urgent help.
On the video call, the prince heard how the effects of Covid-19 in the region are threatening to push the West African country towards extreme hunger this year.
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.
Heir to the throne Charles was also joined on the call by IRC staff, including former foreign secretary David Miliband, who is president of the IRC.
The prince said: “At a time when humanitarian needs have increased by 40% in the last year alone, the IRC’s work has never been more critical.”
He added: “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.”
A new IRC report on global hunger has found that, without immediate action, an estimated 270 million people will be at risk of acute food insecurity in 2021.
The economic shock caused by Covid-19 has placed an additional 35 million people at risk of hunger this year, the IRC warned.
The organisation has called on the G7 and other world leaders to urgently remove barriers to humanitarian access, with an estimated 2.3 billion dollars (£1.6 billion) in humanitarian cash funding required to break the cycle of hardship and hunger.
Melanie Ward, executive director of IRC UK, said: “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.”