COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) " The Norwegian Refugee Council says nearly 800,000 children under the age of 5 are severely malnourished in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad because of lack of sufficient humanitarian funding.

The group's head, Jan Egeland, says that six months after countries pledged financial support to the Lake Chad region, "57 percent of the $2.2 billion needed to meet the most basic humanitarian needs in 2017 are still lacking."

Egeland said Tuesday that a conference in Berlin on Wednesday with representatives from Germany, Norway and the United Nations, plus the four countries surrounding Lake Chad, must have humanitarian funding and access at the top of the agenda.

The region is suffering from several years of Boko Haram's Islamic extremist insurgency.