UN: 4.5 million need food assistance in northern Nigeria

The United Nations' World Food Program is warning that the number of people in need of food assistance in northeast Nigeria has risen to 4.5 million — nearly twice as many as in March.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday that a worsening economy could cause this figure to rise by another 1 million as early as next month. The WFP is scaling up its response, aiming to reach 700,000 people with food and cash in the coming months.

Dujarric says the agency still needs $52 million to providing life-saving assistance until the end of the year in the region.

Dujarric also says the World Health Organization is ramping up its response in the same region because more than half of the health facilities in Borno State, the area most severely affected, are not functioning.