Nigeria

North-East Nigeria: Flash Update #1, Geidam LGA, Yobe State as of 1 May 2021

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Up to 150,000 civilians have fled Geidam town, Yobe State, after multiple attacks occurred since 23 April 2021, targeting communities and forcing almost the entire population of the town to seek safety.

  • Many IDPs are in transit along routes leading to neighbouring towns in northern Yobe in Yunusari, Yusufari, Muzugun, Gashua, Nguru and its state capital, Damaturu. The state government is ensuring IDPs in transit locations, and host communities are supported, while efforts continue to contain the safety and security of Geidam town.

  • SEMA has mobilised local authorities and community leaders in their respective LGAs to support the response.

  • The Governor of Yobe State summoned an Emergency Security Meeting on 27 April, attended by government members, critical stakeholders including traditional rulers, where he highlighted the increased presence of NSAGs in the state.

  • An inter-agency emergency coordination centre (ECC) has been established in Gashua, Bade LGA, to facilitate and monitor response operations.

  • Host community households, religious groups, and volunteers are providing the first line of support to the displaced persons including shelter, cooked meals, water, sleeping mats and other basic needs.

  • A rapid assessment team from OCHA, with support from the government and partners, arrived in Gashua on 28 April to provide first-hand information on sector priorities.

Chronology

  • 23 April: Geidam was attacked by suspected Non-State Armed Group (NSAG).

  • 29 April: Attack of Kanamma town, the administrative headquarters of Yunusari LGA, located some 35 kilometres north of Geidam town; though no civilian casualty was reported, this has raised concerns of further displacements and possible crossings of people into the neighbouring Republic of the Niger.

  • 01 May: Second attack on Kanamma town resulting in the displacement of people of the town; efforts are on-going to confirm the number displaced.

Situation Overview

The attacks, which started on 23 April, were marked by sporadic shooting, targeting civilian homes and property. Most of the displaced people are still in transit across neighbouring rural communities within Geidam LGA and in nearby towns such as Yunusari and Yusufari aiming to reach and take refuge in Gashua in Bade LGA (approx. 105 kilometres), and Nguru LGA (approx. 165 kilometres), or to the state capital of Damaturu (approx. 180 kilometres). The majority of the people moved by foot and by local transport and are stranded across transit locations where access to critical supplies and services, including food, water, shelter and medicine, is very limited. Close to 150,000 civilians have been displaced from Geidam town, capital of Geidam LGA, following repeated attacks by non-state armed group (NSAG) operatives. Host communities are sheltering IDPs in Yunusari, Yusufari and Muzugun, while some have arrived as far as in Gashua, Damaturu, Nguru and other safer LGAs.

The attacks in Geidam has occurred at a time when humanitarian partners are already challenged to respond to over 10,000 new arrivals over the past months from Borno State and from remote communities in Yobe State fleeing conflict in their areas, still unable to return to Geidam due to insecurity. There are reports of individuals who have ventured back only to monitor and gather information about the possibility to return, however, indications from recent surveys and discussions show that the people are still suffering from trauma and fear without guaranteed safety and security in their homes. The major concerns cited by IDPs on their reluctance of returning include continued presence of NSAG operatives in the general area, large-scale destruction of homes, businesses and critical infrastructures such as hospitals and schools, and reports of IEDs and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) in parts of the affected areas.

The mass population displacement calls for additional resources needed to respond to urgent needs. The contingency preparedness resources and available stocks in-state cannot meet these needs, and coping capacity and support mechanisms of host communities are being depleted rapidly due to the influx.

The lack of reception centres where essential details of new arrivals need to be managed and collected before they move into host communities in the main towns makes it very difficult to timely verify the identity of IDPs for prompt and appropriate response. Most host communities – also affected by ongoing conflict – are already vulnerable and are competing with the newly arrived IDPs to receive the very limited resources.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.