The conflict in Nigeria’s north-east has resulted in widespread displacement, violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, protection risks and a deepening humanitarian crisis. Now in its ninth year, the crisis continues to uproot the lives of thousands of children, women and men and is adding to the long history of marginalisation and chronic under-development. 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, 1.7 million of whom are still currently internally displaced and close to 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, 7.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 50 per cent of whom are children. 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.
In areas recently retaken by the Government 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 overcrowded and highly inadequate living conditions, with resources and basic services under huge strain. Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, and its outskirts, 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.