Nigeria

Nigeria Humanitarian Fund Annual Report 2021

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2021 in Review

HUMANITARIAN CONTEXT

Humanitarian situation in 2021
The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (known as the BAY states) persisted in 2021, with no clear end in sight. Armed conflict caused a major protection crisis, including violations of human rights, killings, sexual violence, abduction, and forced displacement. In 2021, some 8.7 million women, men, girls and boys acutely needed protection and assistance. These included 2 million internally displaced people, of whom 257,000 have sought refuge in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Some 54 per cent of the internally displaced lacked essential services and livelihoods, and about 500,000 were in areas currently inaccessible to international humanitarian organizations.

Throughout 2021 there was considerable pressure on displaced people to return to their areas of origin or move to designated areas, despite the continued fighting and insecurity and the lack of infrastructure, access to basic services, and civilian administration.

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to worsen humanitarian needs and complicate the response. The Nigerian economy suffered because of measures to curtail the spread of the virus, such as intermittent border closures and limitations on interstate travel. This was made worse by the fall in global oil prices. Livelihoods have been impaired, leading to a loss of income and purchasing power, further increasing vulnerability and food insecurity.

Protection concerns
Protection remained a serious concern in 2021, especially for girls and women living in camp settings, many of whom were at high risk of gender-based violence (GBV). Some 430,000 IDPs – more than half of IDPs living in camps – lived in overcrowded conditions, which contributed to negative coping strategies.

Boys and adolescent males were at risk from forcible recruitment by armed groups; many with such groups.
Explosive ordnance, including the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, have killed 755 and injured 1,321 civilians, since 2016 – an average of more than one civilian every day.

Food Insecurity
Conflicts, insecurity and explosive remnants of war have cut people off from their main means of livelihood: farming and fishing. This has caused major food insecurity in north-east Nigeria, which worsened by the negative effect of COVID-19 on incomes. Some 3.5 million people in the BAY states were food insecure at the end of 2021, with many feeling the after-effects of the economic recession in Nigeria, which significantly restricted households’ capacity to buy essential food items.

While food security improved somewhat towards the end of 2021 because of concerted efforts by humanitarian partners, the nutrition situation has deteriorated since May – in part, because of a provisional scaling back of blanket supplementary feeding programmes. Because of financial constraints, global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates in Borno increased from 10.7 per cent to 11.8 per cent and in Yobe from 13.6 to 14.1 per cent, while rates in Adamawa decreased from 7.5 to 6.1 per cent. In 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Yobe and Borno, GAM rates exceeded the 15 per cent emergency threshold.

Disease outbreaks
Seasonal rains and floods further increased the vulnerability of people living in flood-prone areas, many of whom have been displaced or otherwise affected by conflict. Inadequate sanitation, congested living conditions and contaminated water sources contributed to outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

A cholera outbreak in the second half of 2021 further complicated the humanitarian response.

This outbreak had a higher case-fatality rate (3.5 per cent) than outbreaks in the previous four years – and exceeded the national average – with 93,000 suspected cases reported compared to 1,800 in 2020. The deterioration of health, and water and sanitation facilities had a major effect on the ability to contain the outbreak.

Security and access constraints
Non-state armed groups (NSAGs) continued attacks in the BAY states, including against humanitarian operations. Access is particularly difficult in Borno State, where all the major supply routes have become dangerous due to the risk of attacks by NSAGs and unexploded ordnance and improvised landmines.

This poses a risk not only to civilians but also to aid workers, and humanitarian cargo and assets. Humanitarian hubs and aid organizations’ offices were regularly attacked in 2021.

Bureaucratic impediments and restrictions also had an adverse impact on the delivery of humanitarian assistance. An estimated 1 million people were living in hard-to-reach areas, with little or no access to humanitarian assistance.

Access was further limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had serious implications for humanitarian workers and cargo movement. How- ever, this improved significantly over the course of the year, allowing for better monitoring of NHF projects compared to 2020.

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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