Now in its ninth year, the crisis in north-east Nigeria remains one of the most severe in the world. In the three worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, 1.7 million persons are internally displaced and human rights violations continue to be reported daily. The food security and nutrition situation remains extremely concerning as conflict continues to limit the amount of land under cultivation and as the lean season (May through September) is about to start. The March 2018 Cadre Harmonisé – updated analysis of the food security and nutrition situation – reveals that the number of people estimated to be facing critical and crisis food and nutrition insecurity levels (IPC 3 and 4) is projected at up to 3 million people in the coming months. Since January, extensive efforts have been made to reach more people with food security activities, including food assistance for more than 1.9 million people and agricultural inputs for close to 820,000 people. Thanks to the expansion of nutrition services, 4 in 5 children identified as suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) are now accessing treatment.
In April, humanitarian organisations developed a multi-sector Rainy Season Contingency Plan with concrete preparedness and response measures to address the expected rise in humanitarian needs resulting from: flooding of camps and towns; the damage and destruction to shelters and houses as well education and health facilities; and the heightened risk of waterborne disease transmission, including cholera and hepatitis E. Heavy flooding of roads is also expected to pose serious logistical challenges for the delivery of aid to remote locations, e.g., Kala/Balge, Kukawa, and Ngala local government areas (LGAs). To mitigate, the pre-positioning of life-saving items – such as food, seeds, medicines, emergency shelter, non-food items and hygiene kits – has already started. In addition, partners are exploring alternative transport options for humanitarian cargo movements between Ngala town and Rann, such as the use of canoes. To ensure a strong aid worker presence in the deep field, five humanitarian hubs with safe accommodation and reliable Internet connectivity are operational in Maiduguri, Gwoza, Bama, Ngala and Dikwa. Another four are underway in Banki, Damasak, Monguno and Rann.
As a result of intense military operations, particularly in the north-east and south-east of Borno State – and due to other factors – large-scale population movements continue to be recorded weekly. Since end October, over 100,000 new arrivals have been recorded. This number includes about 19,200 in April alone, affecting Bama (6,200 new arrivals), Gwoza (4,600), Ngala (2,450), Jere (850), and Damboa (800) LGAs. These movements present major humanitarian challenges as resources are often already overstretched in the locations in which these civilians arrive. Given that military operations have been announced to continue throughout the 2018 rainy season, these displacement trends are likely to continue at least until the end of August.
In parallel, the Government has announced its intention to relocate tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Maiduguri to Bama where rehabilitation of public and private infrastructure is underway. On 2 April, 3,070 women, children and men were relocated. The humanitarian community is concerned that the situation in Bama is not yet conducive to such high numbers of returns, especially as sanitation facilities are still lacking and access to sources of livelihoods remains very limited due to insecurity and restrictions on freedom of movement. A multi-sector assessment is to be carried out in Bama in early May so sectors can have actionable information regarding the situation in the town. In the meantime, the UN and its partners are calling for close coordination with the federal and state authorities to ensure that any returns and relocations are carried out following internationally recognised standards of dignity, safety and voluntariness.
In addition, the north-east continues to face two new cholera outbreaks: one in Borno which broke out on 13 February and stands at 683 cases including three deaths; and one in Yobe which started on 28 March and stands at 411 cases with seven deaths. Thanks to a robust response by health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) partners, the number of new cases being reported in both states has decreased from about 40 cases daily (end of March) to fewer than 10 cases daily (end of April). Efforts will continue to fully contain the outbreaks in the coming weeks.
Overall, the humanitarian response in north-east Nigeria is hampered by the lack of funding for the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). As of 30 April, a reported US$351 million (33.5 per cent) of the needed funds ($1.05 billion) has been received, according to Financial Tracking Service (FTS). For the response to be sustainable and to avoid interruption in lifesaving services, it is crucial that additional funding is urgently received across all sectors.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.