NIGERIA: humanitarian crisis in Boko Haram’s territory
Since 2011, the north-east of Nigeria has been the scene of violent clashes between government forces and the Boko Haram militant group. This conflict, and in particular the acts of violence committed by the insurgents, has led to the displacement of at least 2.2 million people in the country and caused a major humanitarian crisis. Almost 200,000 Nigerians have sought refuge in Chad and Cameroon, where Première Urgence Internationale is present, and in Niger.
Since the start of 2015, the attacks carried out by Boko Haram have caused at least 3,500 casualties. Public services, in particular schools and healthcare facilities, are now systematically targeted by the group, which claims to follow a radical interpretation of Islam*. In conflict zones, less than 40% of these services remain functional.
« malnutrition rates and the lack of access to drinking water are particularly worrying »
The escalation of violence in the region comes in addition to an already-complex health situation, with epidemics of cholera, measles and meningitis. Furthermore, malnutrition rates and the lack of access to drinking water are particularly worrying, as is the food security situation, insofar as massive population displacements exert a pressure on extremely fragile local economies that they can seldom tolerate.
Against this background, Première Urgence Internationale launched a fact-finding mission at the start of December in order to evaluate the needs of the population on the ground and to respond to these needs as effectively as possible. A team is currently in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to begin this assessment phase.
* In particular, Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.