Humanitarian needs escalate in Nigeria with over 2 million internally displaced

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The Boko Haram conflict affecting the Lake Chad Basin area, particularly in northeast Nigeria, has resulted in large scale displacement and a significant protection crisis.

In Nigeria alone, over 2.2 million people are internally displaced, including many living in temporary sites without basic services, where conditions fail to meet the most basic standards. Numbers are growing rapidly as aid agencies gain access to more areas.

IOM has so far provided humanitarian support to nearly 325,000 people in northeast Nigeria through provision of non-food relief items, shelter, psychological first aid, camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) and training to meet SPHERE minimum standards in humanitarian relief.

But it needs significantly more financial support to continue to provide shelter, displacement tracking and biometric registration, camp management and psycho-social help for people affected by the crisis.

A troika, consisting of IOM, UNHCR and Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) lead the shelter and CCCM cluster. IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), implemented in close collaboration with the government, is the principal tool through which essential data on displacement levels, locations and conditions are collected, analyzed and shared.

Significant resources have been mobilized over the past 18 months with steps taken by IOM to deploy additional technical experts in the area of shelter, camp management and displacement tracking.

Economic disruption caused by ongoing violence has left millions in a situation of acute food insecurity, prompting the Nigerian authorities to declare a food and nutrition emergency in Borno state, where most of the internally displaced are located. Women, children and the elderly are at particular risk.

Conditions in the region have now deteriorated to a point where it now meets the criteria required to activate Level 3 emergency status, the highest level of humanitarian crisis, according to IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

“The Level 3 Emergency Response will initially be for six months and will apply to IOM’s relief operations in Nigeria, and related activities carried out in neighboring countries. We hope that this will result in a better resourced and more coordinated response to this major humanitarian crisis,” he said.

IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Enira Krdzalic said: “The condition of internally displaced people in the northeast is still very precarious. The majority are women, children and the elderly. They are exposed to harsh living conditions due to large scale destruction of their houses and farms by Boko Haram, as well as acute food shortages and lack of medical services. IOM will not abandon these people and we are appealing to the donor community for help. IOM will continue working with Nigerian authorities not to abandon these people and we are appealing to the donor community for help.”

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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