West and Central Africa: Humanitarian Bulletin, February 2016
Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria seek US$531 million to assist 5.2 million people.
El Niño limited impact to date in West and Central Africa, but region remains at risk.
Rising food insecurity and new LRA-related displacement in CAR.
Lassa fever outbreak kills 120 in Nigeria and Benin.
Upcoming elections in West and Central Africa.
Lake Chad Basin: nine million people need assistance
In the Lake Chad Basin, Africa’s fastest growing displacement crisis is unfolding, threatening the lives and livelihoods of some 20 million people in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. A year-long surge in violence has forced thousands of families from their homes and deepened destitution among the displaced and the communities hosting them. Around 9.2 million people are already in need of humanitarian assistance.
The protracted violence by Boko Haram and military operations against the armed group have displaced some 2.7 million people in the four countries. North-east Nigeria alone accounts for 2.2 million of the displaced. Around 4.4 million people in the conflict-affected region are severely food insecure with an estimated 223,000 severely acutely malnourished children.
In recent weeks, around 100,000 people in Niger’s south-east Diffa region fled their homes in fear of attacks and sought shelter alongside the highway linking the capital Niamey to the east of the country.
A recent needs assessment identified tens of thousands of IDPs in Liwa and Daboua localities of Chad’s eastern Lac region. The IDPs had not been registered before due to insecurity, limiting access to the host communities where they found refuge. The figures are currently being verified and are likely to double the current IDP population in the region, which stood at around 50,000.
The four Lake Chad Basin countries have upped military offensives against Boko Haram since early 2015. In north-eastern Nigeria, the armed group has lost much of the territory it held. However, it remains resilient and continues to carry out suicide attacks and armed raids.
Since the start of 2016, Cameroon’s Far North region has been hit by more than 30 suicide attacks. Similarly in north-east Nigeria, the group continues to raid villages, target markets, mosques and towns with suicide bombings. Chad and Niger maintain a state of emergency in their respective conflict-affected regions.
Humanitarian access is restricted in certain localities of north-east Nigeria and the Far North region of Cameroon. In Chad, humanitarian organizations are able to deliver assistance on the axis between Baga Sola and Bol, which hosts the majority of registered IDPs. At the same time population movement, access to basic services as well as trade, farming and other daily livelihood activities have been constrained.
Niger on 31 January extended the state of emergency in Diffa, pointing out that the ongoing insecurity warranted the measure. Insecurity remains a major impediment to population movement, daily activities as well as humanitarian access.
Scaling up the response
Humanitarian partners have increased their presence in the affected areas, including Cameroon’s Far North region, the Lac region in Chad, Diffa province in Niger, and northeastern Nigeria.
In January, the four countries finalized their Humanitarian Response Plans seeking a total of US$531 million to assist 5.2 million people in the areas affected by Boko Haram violence.
The Humanitarian Response Plans give priority to addressing food insecurity and malnutrition, providing refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and local communities with protection assistance, shelter as well as improving access to basic services.
The Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP), also launched in January, aims to provide assistance to 230,000 Nigerian refugees and their host communities in the region.
The UN Central Emergency Response Fund has allocated US$31 million to bolster humanitarian response in the four Lake Chad Basin countries, with Nigeria receiving around US$10 million, while Cameroon, Chad and Niger received some US$7 million each.