Potential cuts in food assistance and escalating malnutrition
Although the Food Security Sector (FSS) reached some 2.5 million people across BAY states during the peak of the 2021 lean season, averting a potentially catastrophic situation, the coming months will likely witness a drop (to around less than 1.5 million) due to funding shortages - some key sector partners have already confirmed plans to reduce coverage. The largest Sector partner has reduced coverage from 1.7 million to about 600,000. Other key partners implementing cash and voucher assistance (CVA) have not only reduced beneficiary numbers but also food basket transfer values as well. This comes at a time that about 3.5 million people will be facing severe to acute food shortages (in the lean season June to September next year) as predicted in the October 2021 Cadre Harmonisé report.
Over 1.7 million children to suffer from acute malnutrition
Some 1.74 million children below the age of 5 are projected to suffer acute malnutrition in the BAY states through August 2022, according to the latest integrated phase calculation for acute malnutrition (IPCAMN) report. During the current period (September to December 2021), some eight LGAs (six of which are in Yobe State) are facing critical levels of acute malnutrition (IPC-AMN Phase 4) while 29 LGAs are in Phase 3 (serious). This indicates a deterioration in acute malnutrition rates compared to the same period in 2020 when seven and 19 LGAs were in Phase 4 and 3 respectively. Poor feeding (and breastfeeding) practices, WASH gaps and high prevalence of diseases such as measles, diarrhoea and malaria are among key drivers of malnutrition especially among children in the region.
Rising wave of attacks targeting civilian locations
The recent weeks witnessed an increase on direct civilian attacks by non-state armed groups (NSAG) operatives who rounded up and opened fire on an entire village in Askira Uba LGA. Rockets were also fired into civilian areas in Maiduguri, the main hub of the ongoing response across BAY states, and Buni Yadi town wounding at least five people including three children and damaging scores of houses and property. A teenage girl was abducted by NSAG operatives in Madagali LGA by NSAGs who also looted farm produce during an attack on a farming community in Gwoza town. Along major highways and supply routes, civilian commuters are routinely ambushed and robbed of cash, valuables and merchandise by armed fighters at illegal vehicle checkpoints. Based on trends in recent years, the onset of the dry season leading up to the end of the year period often see a surge in attacks on civilian communities forcing waves of displacements.
Ongoing IDP relocations and restriction on food and NFI distribution in resettlement locations
Nearly 40,000 IDPs were registered for relocation across Stadium and Teachers’ Village camps listed for closure by the end of December, as the Borno State Government (BSG) continue with the closure of camps across Maiduguri, the state capital. Over 100,000 IDPs have so far been relocated this year, including 42,000 from the Bakassi camp in late November. Due to ongoing insecurity and limited access to critical services, many of the IDPs affected by the camp closures are unable to return to their original LGAs and are moving into already congested camps across hard-to-reach areas, where services and facilities are already overstretched. A recent BSG restriction on the distribution of food and NFI assistance by partners in resettlement locations could trigger further influxes of IDP returnees into already overstretched camps, as well as lead to protection concerns. A joint assessment is ongoing across some 11 locations that are receiving influxes of the relocated IDPs to understand the impact on IDPs and to support advocacy and joint planning with the Government.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.