2020 IN REVIEW
NIGERIA HUMANITARIAN FUND AT A GLANCE
Humanitarian situation in 2020
The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (the so-called BAY states) persisted unabated in 2020 with no clear end in sight. Characterized by devastated communities, armed conflict, violations of human rights and dignity, killings, sexual violence, abduction and forced displacement, protection concerns were at the forefront of the crisis. In 2020, some 10.6 million women, men, girls and boys were in acute need of protection and assistance, which led to the 2020 Nigeria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) appeal for $1.1 billion to target 7.8 million affected people.
Protection needs remained formidable in 2020, with some 3,700 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) reported and attributed to conflict, insecurity, and poor living conditions in IDP camps and informal settlements. Negative coping strategies, such as exchanging sex for food and other necessities was also prevalent.
Boys and adolescent males risked forcible recruitment by armed groups, or suspicion of association with armed groups by authorities. Explosive ordnance, including the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, killed and injured civilians.
Throughout 2020, displacement caused by insecurity, increased attacks by non-state armed groups and military operations resulted in 81,000 newly displaced people and increased humanitarian needs and protection risks.
In 2020 the number of IDPs reached some 1.92 million people, with an additional 257,000 seeking refuge in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The majority (54 per cent) of the IDPs have found refuge in host communities. Borno State has 81 per cent of the IDPs, of whom slightly more than half (54 per cent) stay in IDP camps.
Across the affected BAY states, more than 50 per cent of people (including 80 per cent of IDPs) needed assistance, the vast majority in Borno State. Most severe and acute humanitarian needs remained concentrated in areas affected by conflict and locations hosting large numbers of IDPs and returnees.
Prospects for IDP’s safe return to areas of origin remained tenuous in most areas. There has been some pressure on displaced populations to return to their LGAs of origin, even while the conflict continues and despite gaps in infrastructure, basic services, and the presence of civilian administration in return areas.
Conflict, explosive remnants of war and insecurity have cut people off from their main means of livelihoods— farming and fishing. This caused major food insecurity in north-east Nigeria, which COVID-19’s effects on incomes have exacerbated. Some 5.1 million people in the BAY states are food insecure a 34 per cent increase from the previous year.
Malnutrition remained concerning, with some 1.1 million children and women in need of immediate nutrition services. This was further exacerbated by weak health infrastructure, poor infant and young child feeding practices, limited access to safe water and sanitation services, poor hygiene conditions and food insecurity. Some two-thirds of health facilities in the BAY states remain damaged by the conflict – indicating the severe negative impact on the health system.
The level of acute malnutrition increased in all the three states compared to 2019. Global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates of 10.7 per cent were recorded in Borno, 7.5 per cent in Adamawa and 13.6 per cent in Yobe, with several LGAs surpassing the 15 per cent global emergency threshold.
The conflict continues to erode coping mechanisms and resilience to shocks, resulting in seasonal torrential rains and floods further increasing the vulnerability of populations living in flood prone areas. This in turn contributes to water borne disease outbreaks such as cholera.
The COVID-19 pandemic deepened humanitarian needs and complicated the humanitarian response. The Nigerian economy suffered from the fall in global oil prices and restriction measures to curtail the spread of the virus, such as intermittent border closures. Consequently, livelihoods have been impaired, leading to loss of income and buying power and further increasing vulnerability and food insecurity.
Impacts of the conflict
The crisis has had devastating impact on the BAY states with an estimated loss of up to US $8.9 billion in damages to social and economic infrastructure, exacerbating pre-existing inequalities between people in north-east Nigeria and the rest of the country.
The impacts on health-care and education services are equally devastating. Some 40 per cent of health facilities in the BAY states have been damaged or destroyed, while insecurity frequently disrupts vaccination campaigns and other essential health services for children and other vulnerable groups in inaccessible areas. With 935 schools closed, over 1.4 million girls and nearly 1.3 million boys are out of school and facing an uncertain future without education. This has been further exacerbated to further school closures linked to COVID-19.
Despite the deteriorating security situation, shrinking humanitarian space and outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian actors still successfully mobilized $622.5 million which was 58 per cent of HRP requirements in 2020.
Security and access constraints
2020 remained a challenging year due to the dynamic operational context, continuous deterioration of the security situation, limited access and shrinking humanitarian space.
Non-state armed groups continued to intensify attacks in several locations and targeted humanitarian actors. The operating environment remains extremely volatile, particularly in Borno State, where all the major supply routes have become dangerous—due to risk of attacks by non-state armed groups (NSAGs), as well as from unexploded ordnance and improvised landmines. This poses a risk to civilians and, moreover, aid workers, humanitarian cargo and assets. Humanitarian hubs and aid organizations’ offices suffered regular attacks in 2020.
Bureaucratic impediments and restrictions continued to constrict humanitarian space and reduce humanitarian access, adversely affecting delivery of timely and principled humanitarian assistance. Only a subset of the people in need can be reached and aid materials and services often cannot flow freely enough to meet all needs. Many locations are inaccessible and constrains transport and access to the nominally accessible humanitarian hub locations.
Access was further compounded by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which had serious implications on the movement of humanitarian workers and cargo.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.