(Abuja and Dakar, 27 November 2015): “Extreme violence in the North-East of Nigeria is the most visible driver of instability and need for emergency relief across the Lake Chad Basin, but abject poverty and environmental degradation are the root cause of the crisis that plagues the region. The political, environmental and developmental causes of the crisis must be addressed with a renewed sense of urgency”, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, said today at the end of a week-long visit to affected areas in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe States, hundreds of thousands of families have been struck by Boko Haram,” said Lanzer. “The crisis – which has driven 4 million people into hunger and forced 2.4 million people from their homes – requires a multi-pronged response. The international community must work closely with the Nigerian authorities to help millions of people in dire need of protection, as well as food, shelter, and health care. All children require access to quality education. Assistance must also be provided to those wishing to return home voluntarily, given that over 200,000 already did and still more wish to do so.”
In Adamawa and Borno, Lanzer listened to displaced persons, host communities, and people who have returned home and met officials and organisations, both at the national and state levels. He welcomed the ongoing work of the Government and the recent establishment of the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI) to develop areas destroyed by violence and achieve long-term solutions for all communities in the region.
“Governments have the essential role in protecting and assisting their people and addressing the underlying issues that have caused human suffering,” he said. “As in the other three countries which border the Lake Chad Basin – namely Cameroon, Chad and Niger – the sheer complexity and scale of the crisis call for continued and complementary support from the international community. The United Nations in the four affected countries will play its part in helping to ensure that people struck by the crisis get the best available help, on time.”
In the specific case of Nigeria, the United Nations agencies and their partners will require some US$ 200 million to carry out their emergency response in the North-East of the country in 2016.
For further information, please contact: Kate Pond, HAO Public Information/Reports, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +234 706 775 4832 (Abuja) Berenice Van Den Driessche, OCHA, email@example.com, +221 77 333 91 95 (Dakar)
To learn more about the humanitarian needs in the Sahel and how humanitarian teams plan to respond, visit: http://www.unocha.org/sahel. OCHA press releases are available on http://www.unocha.org/rowca
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