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North-east Nigeria: Crisis shows no sign of abating

05 Jul 2019


Photo: OCHA/L.Kinzli

Now in its tenth year, the conflict continues to uproot the lives of tens of thousands of civilians. In recent months, a new spike in violence and military counter-operations have affected civilians in the BAY states, particularly in Borno State. Since January, some 134,000 people have been forced from their homes.

“Aid agencies have significantly scaled up and reached some two million people with aid this year,” explained the Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon. “However, much more support is urgently needed. We are worried about the tens of thousands of people who have recently fled rising violence and are still sleeping outside in the open. With the rainy season progressing, they will face increased risk of diseases and need immediate protection.”

The numbers of this crisis are worrying:

In Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, 7.1 million people - 53 per cent of the population - require urgent humanitarian assistance

2.9m food insecure people at emergency level

368k children are severely malnurished

IOM's Vincent Houver with children from the IDP Camp in Damboa Local Government Area, Borno State, Nigeria. Photo: OCHA/L.Kinzli

“The crisis in the Lake Chad Region is far from over", said Mr. Vincent Houver from the International Organization of Migration, one of the mission members. “The humanitarian community cannot spare any effort at this time. This week we have met with women, children, and men who have been forced to flee multiple times and urgently need protection and assistance to survive and rebuild their lives. We cannot let them down.”

Ms. Sheila Grudem, Deputy Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response Support Division in WFP, and Ms. Reena Ghelani, OCHA's Director of the Operations and Advocacy Division, speak with women at the Muna Garage IDP Camp, Maiduguri, Borno State. Credit: OCHA/L.Kinzli

During a five-day visit, emergency directors from UN aid agencies and NGOs, representing the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC), witnessed first-hand the extent of the needs in Nigeria’s north-east, as violence continues unabated and the 2019 humanitarian response plan remains over 67 per cent unfunded.

“Some of the people we met have been living in camps for internally displaced persons for several years.” explained Mr. Christian Gad, Head of Emergencies for the Danish Refugee Council. “All actors, including the Government and the private sector in Nigeria, need to join forces to help those affected by the crisis recover, in dignity, and restart their lives.”