ACAPS Briefing Note: North East Nigeria - Food Security and Nutrition Crisis (12 April 2017)



Years of insurgency and counterinsurgency operations have resulted in the displacement of approximately 1.9 million people and created a food and nutrition crisis in Nigeria’s northeast. The worst-affected local government areas of northeast Nigeria are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food security conditions and Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) levels above emergency threshold.

Areas of Borno with limited access, such as Konduga, Bama, KalaBalge, Mafa, Ngala, Dikwa, and Marte, have between 39,000 and 250,000 people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Famine (IPC Phase 5) food security conditions, according to the Cadre Harmonisé (Cadre Harmonisé 10/03/2017).

Agricultural production has fallen, and raids and suicide bombings have destroyed vital infrastructure. Security measures impacting food security include a ban on the cultivation of tall crops, road closures, controls on fertiliser and fuels, and curfews. The scale of population movement is worsening food security: returning refugees and IDPs are adding to the strain on both camps and host communities.

Key findings

Anticipated Scope and Scale

The crisis is expected to worsen – 50,000 people will be in Famine from June to August if the situation is not remedied. The lean season is predicted to start earlier in April-May instead of in July, therefore lasting longer than usual, and farmers would still be unable to cultivate land. With the rainy season expected to begin in May/June, many access roads will be cut off due to flooding.

Priorities for humanitarian intervention

Food: 1,099,000 people, or 19% of the population in Borno state, are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and 38,000 in Famine (IPC Phase 5) levels of food insecurity. In Adamawa 197,000 people are in Emergency food insecurity and 5,800 in Famine. In Yobe 88,000 are in Emergency.

Nutrition: GAM prevalence is 11.4%, 11.3%, and 5.6% in Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa states, respectively. The situation is thought to be worse in inaccessible areas.

Livelihoods: Many livelihoods have been disrupted by the crisis. Farming has particularly been affected as farmers are unable to access and cultivate their farmlands due to security threats.

Protection: Extreme negative coping strategies have been adopted. The risk of forced/early marriage is high. Women and girls trade sex for food and other essential needs.

Humanitarian Constraints

Over 80% of Borno is considered high or very high risk for international humanitarian partners to operate in. Movement is usually restricted to LGA headquarters, as military clearance operations are still ongoing in many communities.

Administrative restrictions on visas and customs clearance for humanitarian personnel and supplies are delaying response.