The UN said about 400,000 children aged under five could suffer from acute malnutrition in the former stronghold of Boko Haram militants. Photograph: (AFP)
UNICEF sought an increase in humanitarian aid to tackle the severe food shortages that are putting thousands of children at risk
The United Nations children's agency on Thursday warned that the growing famine-like conditions in northeast Nigeria could kill 75,000 children over the next year.
The UN said about 400,000 children aged under five could suffer from acute malnutrition in the former stronghold of Boko Haram militants, if they do not receive immediate aid.
The agency has called for military escorts for aid workers, fearing attacks from the Islamist militant group, to reach areas affected by the crisis.
"The 75,000 is from the three states – Borno, Yobe and Adamawa," said UNICEF spokesman Patrick Rose.
More than four million people are facing severe food shortages in the region, which has been exacerbated by soaring food prices and scarce reserves from the last harvest.
UNICEF also said it had increased the sum sought in its humanitarian appeal to help malnourished children in the region, where food supplies are close to running out, to $115 million - more than double the previous amount of $55 million.
The UN said it had so far received just $28 million, which it said "presents a serious obstacle to UNICEF's scale up plan".
(WION with inputs from agencies)