About the crisis

The conflict in Nigeria’s north-east provoked by Boko Haram has resulted in widespread displacement, violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, protection risks and a deepening humanitarian crisis.
 
Coming into its eighth year, the crisis shows no sign of abating and is adding to the long history of marginalization and chronic under-development as well as a higher rate of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment. Long-standing environmental degradation contributes to eroding livelihoods for farmers in the north-east and fishermen in the Lake Chad region, while conflict has caused displacement and human suffering on a massive scale.
 
Since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed, thousands of women and girls abducted and children drafted as so-called "suicide" bombers into the insurgency.  Up to 2.1 million people fled their homes at the height of the conflict, 1.9 million of whom are currently internally displaced (June 2017) and over 200, 000 people are still in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, after having been forced to flee.
 
In the three most affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, almost 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 50 per cent of whom are children. In newly accessible areas vulnerable host populations are in critical need of humanitarian interventions including food, water, sanitation, protection, education, shelter and health services.
 
Escaping from attacks across the three most-affected states, IDPs are taking shelter in the relative safety of urban centres. Families are living in already overcrowded and highly inadequate living conditions, with resources and basic services under huge strain. Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, and Greater Maiduguri (including Jere) have seen their population double from one to two million with the influx of people fleeing the violence in other areas of the state.  In an area already economically deprived, more than three in four IDPs are living among host communities.  Their lack of access to livelihoods and resources is leading to risky livelihood coping strategies.
 
For the fourth year in a row, farmers have been unable to return to the land for planting season, further aggravating the food insecurity situation. Physical insecurity, landmines, and a proliferation of improvised explosive devices continue to prevent farmers from returning to their lands. Some 5.2 million people are food insecure with the onset of the rainy and lean season (June-September 2017). An estimated 450,000 children under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
 
With the ongoing disruption of basic services such as health care, clean water and sanitation, the likelihood of disease outbreaks is increasingly concerning.  Poor drainage and stagnant water is leading to greater incidents of malaria and increases the likelihood of waterborne disease such as cholera.  After two years without a reported case of polio, four cases were confirmed in Borno, an indicator of the urgent need to address the escalating health crisis.
 
Government forces are recapturing territory from the insurgents, but the security situation in the north-east is expected to remain fragile.  Over 80 per cent of Borno State is considered high or very high risk for international humanitarian actors, often constraining access to desperately vulnerable communities.  As the security situation improves, new areas are becoming accessible and new dimensions of need -- and hope -- emerge.