The Bama local government area (LGA) has been severely affected by the humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria.
Bama town, the second largest in the state of Borno, was repeatedly attacked from May 2013 through September 2014 and finally seized by non-state armed groups, who turned it into their headquarters. Relatively close to the border with Cameroon, it was once a thriving commercial hub and home to 250,000 people.
While the Nigerian armed forces regained control of the LGA in March 2015, the civilian administration has not yet officially returned. The LGA chairman visits regularly to support the ongoing humanitarian and recovery efforts.
An informal settlement established and controlled by the military in the General Hospital site has been hosting about 15,200 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in extremely dire and congested conditions. International humanitarian aid started reaching them in June 2016. IDPs from other parts of the north-east continue to arrive weekly to Bama town.
A new camp has been established at the Government Senior Secondary School in Bama town to help decongest the first site.
Relocation to this new camp started on 11 December 2017.
Humanitarians are working to ensure that all basic services are availed in this new site as soon as possible.
The state government has embarked on a large-scale reconstruction of the LGA – the so-called “Bama Initiative” - to lay the foundation for the safe and voluntary return of displaced persons when the conditions are conducive.
The security situation in Bama LGA remains volatile, and concerns regarding the protection of civilians are high. Freedom of movement is severely restricted.
The only locations which have a permanent humanitarian presence in Bama LGA are Bama town and Banki. Insecurity is completely preventing access to locations outside of those two towns.
Humanitarian cargo and personnel can reach Bama town by road from Konduga with the use of armed escorts as a last resort. Aid workers can also be transported by helicopter thanks to the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS).
In May 2017, the construction of a humanitarian hub started.
The hub became operational in August, and has since been facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and its coordination by providing aid workers with secure accommodation and internet connectivity
For the past two years, IDPs in Bama town have been living in one informal, congested and closed site, based at the former General Hospital site. The informal camp hosts over 12,250 persons (about 3,400 women, 2,100 men, 5,300 girls and 4,450 boys). They come largely from other parts of the Bama LGA, namely Kumshe, Nduguno, Dipchari, Jere and Dar-Jama.
The number of new arrivals reported in November and December is 187 people. Newly arriving IDPs are being screened by the military before being integrated into the camp, with the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and humanitarian partners, where they received life-saving assistance. As of early December, over 3,000 people did not have shelters and were staying outside or in makeshift structures.
A new site has been set-up at the location of the Government Senior Secondary School with close to 2,700 shelters built by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the construction of over 2,250 shelters is underway by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The relocation of families to decongest the General Hospital site is to start in midDecember, but many challenges remain such as: security concerns, the poor quality of some shelters which do not abide by basic internationally-recognised basic standards, and the establishment of proper WASH facilities and services.
In terms of health care needs, cases of acute respiratory infections, measles and malnutrition are regularly reported. There is a lack of ambulances to facilitate the referral of patients to Maiduguri for complex medical issues.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.