Lake Chad Basin: Crisis Update No. 3 (12 May 2016)
Regional Highlights - Boko Haram gunmen continue to carry out attacks on civilian and military targets despite the ramped up military operations. Security remains volatile in many conflict-affected areas, complicating humanitarian access to those in need.
In Niger, Boko Haram attacks have increased since January. Intensified military offensives from the regional multinational force and troops from the Lake Chad Basin countries have forced the gunmen to retreat to the border areas between Niger and Nigeria where they attack villages that have little or no military presence.
Food insecurity and malnutrition are on the rise. Without interventions an estimated 67,000 children aged 6-59 months with severe acute malnutrition are likely to die in 2016 in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno and Yobe states. This translates to 184 deaths every day.
The number of children used by Boko Haram as suicide bombers has risen tenfold in one year. More than 75 per cent of them are girls. Forty-four children were involved in suicide bombings in 2015, up from four the previous year.
US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, announced nearly US$40 million in new humanitarian assistance to those affected by Boko Haram violence. Power made the announcement during a visit to Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria on 16 - 23 April.
The presidents of Cameroon and Nigeria have agreed that a tripartite meeting of the two countries and UNHCR to agree on a framework for the safe return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon be held in July in Abuja.
In Chad, rapid assessments are ongoing to register the displaced. More than 106,000 people have been displaced in the Lac region since May 2015, according to an update on 19 April.
The current lull in attacks in Chad has allowed aid agencies to reach most of the internally displaced persons (IDPs). The most recent security incidents caused no civilian casualties. However the security situation remains volatile and unpredictable.
The authorities in Niger have ordered the evacuation of seven villages along the Komadougou River on the border with Nigeria due to increasing military operations.
Markets have also been closed and more people are expected to move to urban centres.
The number of children used by Boko Haram as suicide bombers has risen tenfold in one year. More than 75 per cent of them are girls, according to a report by UNICEF released on 12 April. Forty-four children were involved in suicide bombings in 2015, up from four the previous year. Between January 2014 and February 2016, Cameroon recorded the highest number of suicide attacks involving children at 21, followed by Nigeria with 17 and Chad with 2. Over the past two years, nearly one in five suicide bombers was a child.
In Nigeria, the displaced continue to be exposed to protection risks, in particular those amongst the most vulnerable who have specific needs such as the elderly, child-headed households, women, boys and girls and those with disabilities. Women report sexual and gender-based violence when fleeing the armed conflict.
In just one year, the number of displaced children increased by over 60 per cent, from 800,000 to 1.3 million children, according to UNICEF.
In Cameroon, Nigerian refugees in the Minawao Camp continue to be arrested due to suspected links with Boko Haram, and a climate of distrust towards IDPs, refugees and minorities is developing.
Across the conflict-hit regions of the Lake Chad Basin some three million people are already food insecure. Many more are expected to face hunger as the lean season progresses. Already in certain areas, the lean season has begun earlier than usual, while in others thousands of families are in need of immediate assistance.
According to a joint UN multi-sectoral assessment conducted in April, 2.3 million people are severely food insecure in Borno and Yobe states. Of the total, 800,000 people - 550,000 in Borno and 250,000 in Yobe - need to be prioritized for immediate urgent food assistance.
Given the onset of the lean season and rainy season, nutrition outcomes are expected to worsen and food prices will increase as roads become impassable.
An estimated 486,000 children in Borno and 242,000 children in Yobe are suffering from Global Acute Malnutrition.
Some 73,000 children under two years of age in these communities need to urgently receive ready-to-use supplementary specialized nutritious foods. Food supplements for 27,000 pregnant and lactating mothers are also recommended.
Without interventions an estimated 67,000 children aged 6 - 59 months with severe acute malnutrition are likely to die in Borno and Yobe states in 2016. This translates to 184 deaths every day.
In Niger’s Diffa region, 159,620 are food insecure. Humanitarian assistance and security operations in the region could stabilize the levels of food insecurity.
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