THE NIGERIA HUMANITARIAN FUND
The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) was launched by the United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator during the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region on 24 February 2017. The NHF is a Country-Based Pooled Fund (CBPF) that is managed by a Humanitarian Financing Unit (HFU) of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs4 (OCHA) based in Maiduguri, on behalf of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, and it plays a vital role in ensuring an effective, coordinated, prioritized and principled humanitarian response in Nigeria.
On 17 May 2017, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, supported by the NHF Advisory Board , approved the very first NHF Allocation of US$ 10.6 million to support the further implementation of humanitarian hubs, to address the needs of the most vulnerable people in locations where access is sporadic and where flooding, disease outbreaks and new displacements continue to take place, as well as to enhance the protection of civilians in vulnerable communities and those trapped in conflict areas. The allocation supported 6 sectors and enabled 13 critical projects managed by 10 partners in 20 LocalGovernment Areas (LGAs)
The 1st Standard Allocation started on 17 June 2017 and was completed by 31 July 2017. The NHF was able to conduct its very first allocation within 4 weeks after the creation of the HFU in Maiduguri. The average time from the start of the allocation to the disbursement of funds to implementing partners was 35 days. Thanks to significant and proactive support provided by sectors, stakeholders and all its partners, the NHF achieved the fastest start-up, standard allocation and disbursement time out of all 18 Country-Based Pooled Funds in 2017.
On 30 August 2017, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, supported by the NHF Advisory Board, requested the launch of a second NHF Standard Allocation.
The overall objectives guiding the second and future NHF allocations, include:
Support principled, prioritized life-saving assistance.
Strengthen coordination and leadership through the function of the Humanitarian Coordinator and the sector coordination system, promoting synergies and multi-sectoral responses.
Expand assistance to hard-to-reach areas through frontline responders and enabling activities.
Leverage the Nigerian private sector in support of humanitarian response.
The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-east and the Lake Chad region is one of the most severe in the world today, with 8.5m people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2017 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, and 6.9m targeted for humanitarian assistance. Now in its eighth year, the crisis shows no sign of abating.
The crisis has largely been triggered by a regionalized armed conflict that has caused untold loss of life and liberty across northeastern Nigeria and parts of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict that has led to widespread forced displacement, violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, severe protection concerns and a food and nutrition crisis of massive proportions.
In March 2017 the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2349, strongly condemning all terrorist attacks, violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses by Boko Haram and ISIL, and urged all parties to the conflict to ensure respect for and protection of humanitarian personnel, facilities, and their means of transport and equipment, and to facilitate safe, timely and unhindered access for humanitarian organizations to deliver lifesaving aid to affected people.
Today more than 1.8 million people are internally displaced in the six states in the north-east – this figure has not significantly changed since October 2016. Eighty per cent of the IDPs are in Borno State, the epicenter of the crisis, and over half are living outside IDP camps in local communities, making it harder to access them with assistance and putting additional pressure on the host communities.
Protection and unimpeded humanitarian access and aid remains to be the focus of our efforts in the northeast. Women, men and children face grave human rights violations and sexual and genderbased violence, including rape. Since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed, thousands of women and girls abducted and children used as so-called ‘suicide bombers’. Attacks on IDP camps by suicide bombers pose serious physical security threats for IDPs living in those camps. IDP camps are places of refuge for civilians who have come to the camps as a last resort to flee an already hazardous environment.
Food security is affected by ongoing insecurity and was compounded by the lean season (July to Sep). The number of people facing critical food insecurity in the three worst-affected states reached 5.2 million during the lean season and 450,000 children under five were in need of nutrition support.
Rapid food assessments carried out in eastern Borno State indicated that food deficits and high food prices were pronounced across the three areas surveyed in Banki, Gwoza and Pulka. Poor food consumption is particularly high among newly arrived returnees, which highlights the importance of sustained food aid to returnees. Under the Government of Nigeria Special Relief Intervention in the northeast, 40,000 metric tonnes of grain commenced in June for an estimated three-month period targeting 1.8 million people in the six north eastern states. Thanks to timely support from donors, food and nutrition emergency aid has been significantly scaled up since late 2016, and today nearly 2 million people are receiving in-kind or cash based food assistance every month. In addition, nutrition partners have reached nearly 500,000 children and pregnant/lactating women through supplementary feeding programmes and 210,000 infants and young children with nutritional support. In addition, more than 100,000 children under five have been treated for SAM. Humanitarian actors have noticed encouraging signs that the food and nutrition situation in some areas is stabilizing. For example, there has been a dramatic drop (up to 70 per cent) in malnutrition rates in four IDP camps in Maiduguri.
Millions of people are also at high risk of disease outbreaks because routine vaccinations have been interrupted for many years, e.g. for polio and measles. Close to 800 cases of Hepatitis Type E have been recorded in three LGAs in Borno state since early May, mainly in Ngala (677 cases). The number of suspected cases is now declining. Two thirds of the health facilities in the three mostaffected states have been damaged by the conflict. The continuous influx of returnees and the overcrowding of camps due to limited availability of shelter, water and sanitation services increases the risk of outbreaks.
More than 13,000 Nigerian refugees have returned abruptly from Cameroon to Banki, Borno State, since April 2017. In Banki and Pulka in particular, returning refugees are posing pressure on the already strained services for IDPs staying there. The returnees are facing dire conditions due to lack of food, shelter, water and sanitation while humanitarian actors scaling up their response. Freedom of movement of all IDPs, including returnees, is limited by the continued security restrictions in the immediate surroundings of areas such as Banki, Pulka, Bama, Gwoza, Ngala and Damasak. This is having a considerable impact on humanitarian partners trying to build additional shelters for those returning and is affecting the ability of returnees to farm, generate income and to rebuild their lives.
In August, the first meeting of the Tri-Partite Commission was held. The Commission was set up after an agreement between UNHCR, Nigeria and Cameroon on voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees, once conditions are conducive. The Commission agreed that returns need to be conducted in a phased approach and only once it is established that returns are to areas that are secure and sustainable (adequate absorption capacity).
Humanitarian access is often impeded and restricted as a result of insecurity, and over 80 percent of Borno State is considered to pose a high or very high risk for humanitarian actors operating there, (often) constraining access to desperately vulnerable communities. The ongoing rainy season is creating challenges to humanitarian access in some areas, for example delays in convoy movements to Rann. In addition, congestion at Lagos port is hampering the supply chain of humanitarian items and affecting the timely delivery of specialized nutritious food and other goods.
Early recovery and livelihoods activities seek to address the underlying causes of the conflict, boost sustainable development and prevent aid dependency. Early recovery is underpinned by efforts to better connect humanitarian and development work within the Framework of the New Way of Working as agreed at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. Since January 2017, over 620,000 men, women and children including farmers, fishermen and daily-wage laborers have benefited from various early recovery interventions, for example infrastructure rehabilitation, cash-for-work, mine risk education, vocational skills training/grants and inputs for agricultural production to help revive livelihoods and economic activities in conflict-affected communities.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.