Lake Chad Basin: Crisis Update No. 15 (09 May 2017)
Humanitarian partners in Nigeria are preparing contingency plans for the possible return of around 75,000 Nigerian refugees from Cameroon. Incidents of forceful returns continue to be reported despite an agreement signed in March by Cameroon, Nigeria and UNHCR on voluntary repatriation. In Banki town, the military recently reported that around 1,000 people arrived every week from neighbouring Cameroon and warned that the small border town was being overwhelmed by the influx.
Chad, Niger and Nigeria conducted polio vaccination drives in March and April targeting millions of children. The vaccination campaigns were part of synchronized operations in 13 African countries targeting more than 116 million children under five, in an attempt at definitively eradicating polio in the continent. New polio cases erupted last year in Nigeria’s Borno state. The risk of contagion in the Lake Chad region is high due to population movements and low immunization coverage of children.
Food assistance is being ramped up. Around 2.1 million people in north-eastern Nigeria received food assistance in March, up from 1.7 million the previous month. In Cameroon, WFP provided food assistance to 140,000 displaced people in March, increasing from 113,000 the previous month.
Military offensives by Nigerien forces and troops from the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) as well as Boko Haram attacks have complicated humanitarian access in areas around Chetimari and Gueskerou in the country’s south-east. A vehicle belonging to an NGO was shot at on April 15. A week earlier, Boko Haram gunmen raided for a second time a health centre in Boudoum and stole supplies.
Insecurity remains high in Cameroon’s Far North region. In the first two weeks of April alone, Boko Haram fighters launched several attacks in various localities: a military base in Mayo Moskota area came under attack and around 30 of the attackers were killed in the assault, while 10 people were killed and 13 wounded in two separate attacks. Civilians are also traumatized by kidnappings by armed gangs.
In Nigeria’s north-eastern Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, some 1.69 million people remain displaced. Military operations, inter-community clashes and the search for livelihood opportunities are driving population movements, according to IOM.