Lake Chad Basin: Crisis Update No. 1 (29 February 2016)
Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin continue to witness violence, displacement and food insecurity.
Violence perpetrated by Boko Haram and military operations against the group continue to cause displacements in Cameroon’s Far North Region, the Lac Region of Chad, Niger’s Diffa Region, and in northeastern Nigeria.
The 2016 Humanitarian Response Plans have been finalized for Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
Overall, some 9.2 million people - out of a population of 20.1 million living in areas affected by Boko Haram violence - are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Security risks deteriorating during the dry season. The dry season, which typically runs from December to May, will likely ease the movement of the armed group around the Lake Chad area and other far-flung locations.
Some 4.5 million people facing severe food insecurity urgently need support in the region, 90 per cent of them in north-east Nigeria. In the Far North region of Cameroon, the number of people in need of immediate food assistance has quadrupled since June 2015. In Niger, a quarter of the 2 million food insecure people targeted for assistance are in Diffa.
Boko Haram violence and military counter-offensives continue to cause displacements. Registration is ongoing for tens of thousands of displaced people recently identified in Chad’s western Lac Region. This is in addition to new displacements in recent months of 100,000 people in Niger’s Diffa Region, and 80,000 people in northeastern Nigeria. In Cameroon, 158,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.
Some 150,000 people are being encouraged to return to their homes in Nigeria. Humanitarian partners advocate that all returns be voluntary and informed.
Conditions in return areas need to be appropriate for sustainable returns owing to insecurity, lack of essential services and the presence of unexploded ordinances.
Suicide bombings have increased in frequency and geographical spread, becoming almost daily occurrences. Raids on villages and the use of improvised explosive devices by suspected Boko Haram members continue to cause widespread devastation. Most suicide attacks are conducted by children, adolescents and women and target civilians in markets and mosques, and increasingly - internally displaced persons (IDPs) in sites.
Cases of recruitment of children have been reported, particularly of young girls and women to carry out suicide attacks. As a result, women and girls are subjected to stigmatization, which has led to an increased social acceptance of sexual and gender-based violence and harmful cultural practices, including early and forced marriage.
Social cohesion is at risk, particularly in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Some communities perceived to be having links with Boko Haram face stigma and harassment. Distrust of refugees, displaced people and communities ethnically affiliated to Boko Haram supporters has led to inter-communal clashes. Vigilante groups established by the authorities have foiled many attacks, but have also reportedly committed exactions against minorities.
Some 4.5 million people facing severe food insecurity urgently need support in the region, 90 per cent of them in north-east Nigeria. In the Far North region of Cameroon, the number of people in need of immediate food assistance has quadrupled since June 2015. Similarly, in the Mamdi department of Chad, the number of people facing severe food insecurity has risen tenfold in one year. In the Diffa region of Niger, 31 per cent of the population has reached crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity and preliminary results indicate a global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of 22 per cent. Severe acute malnutrition rates for children under five have surpassed the emergency threshold in Borno and Yobe states in Nigeria, and in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Throughout the region, around 310,000 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
WFP and its partners in recent weeks assisted thousands of people recently displaced by Boko Haram violence in Chad and Cameroon with food and nutrition support, the agency aims to reach up to 35,000 displaced people who have so far not received any assistance.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.