The humanitarian situation in Nigeria is the most severe in Africa. In the northeast of the country, devastated by Boko Haram, three million people are threatened by famine, 50,000 children are dying of hunger.
Cut off from the world and devastated by the terrorist actions of Boko Haram , the north-eastern Nigeria is mired in one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, “the most severe in Africa,” according to the UN. The situation is such that some have compared to the famine that had raged during the Biafran war (1967-1970), southern region of Nigeria, during which more than a million people died of starvation. “The last time we faced such serious cases, it was during the Civil War”, ensures Dr. Bamidele Omotola, a nutritionist at Unicef, which highlights the numbers “very, very, very -Dessus emergency thresholds. “ It is in the state of Borno, the cradle of Islamist armed group, that the situation is most critical: some three million people suffer from hunger, including 250 000 children. According to UNICEF, 50,000 of them will die if they are not treated quickly.
Looting and water contamination
“The absolute emergency is food. The assistance provided so far is totally inadequate and it was not coordinated,” says the emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) , Natalie Roberts, returned from a long mission in the state where the few roads open by the Nigerian military are passable under military escort. “What also worries us a lot is that the government is encouraging refugees to return home [they are only 1.5 million in the city of Maiduguri, capital of Borno, Ed]. But it’s much too dangerous, the situation is not stabilized it. We will have more difficulty help them, “says humanitarian. With her team, she managed to get in some very inaccessible villages where the situation is catastrophic. “In the makeshift camps where we went, we saw very few children under five years old. These children are the most vulnerable and it is they who are the first victims. Their mortality rate is extremely strong.”
In the town of Ngala where 80,000 displaced people are living in a camp cut off from the outside world, lack of food and medical care is total. Early detection of malnutrition among 2000 children under five years has shown that in ten children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, a deadly disease. Displaced explain live on less than half a liter of water per person per day. Aid can only note the growing needs of the population and their inability to meet there as the supply difficulties are great. “The needs are currently higher than the capacity of response and we must ensure that we have both the access and resources to intensify our humanitarian support in the coming months,” summarizes the Humanitarian Coordinator ai of Nations United in Nigeria, Peter Lundberg.
Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, is responsible for the death of over 20 000 people in Nigeria.Villagers face daily and its attacks can no longer cope with the constant looting of their crops. The lands were destroyed or scattered with anti-personnel mines, contaminated water sources and shortages have driven up prices on the market stalls. In 2014, the armed Islamist group proclaimed northern Nigeria “caliphate” and abducted 200 teenage girls. Twenty-one of them were released mid-October.