© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
How To Save Millions From Dying In The Lake Chad Basin
By Obiejesi Kingsley
About 9.2 million people, including women and children, are in critical conditions and in dire need of food and medical assistance in the Lake Chad Basin – Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger – as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency, the United Nations has reported.
The world body has called on donor agencies and philanthropists to redeem their pledges of assistance in order to save the lives of the people living in this highly vulnerable area.
According to a report released on Thursday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, about $739 million will be needed to “increase lifesaving support to the millions of people affected by the crisis” across the region, “of which $197 million has already been received.”
“The remaining unmet requirement of $522 million includes $368 million for Nigeria, $56 million for Chad, $55 million for Cameroon, and $44 million for Niger, respectively.”
In Nigeria, the UN agency warned that “without timely scale-up of life-saving assistance in the conflict-hit Northeast, and in Borno State in particular, the humanitarian crisis will deteriorate further.”
Part of the report read: “The 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan is now requesting $484 million up from $279 million. As of 3 October $116 million, or 24 per cent, of the funds had been received.”
Figures from the report showed that about 7 million have been affected by insurgency in Nigeria, including 1.95 million who were internally displaced and 4.4 million that are “severely food insecure.”
It would be recalled that in late September, an international Non-Governmental Organization, Medecines San Frontiers, MSF, also called Doctors without Borders, as well as UNICEF, released separate press documents warning of the dire humanitarian conditions in the various camps for internally displaced persons in Borno.
However, the Northeast regional office of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, refuted the reports, and even accused the MSF of trying to use the condition of IDPs as a disguise to raise more funds for its campaign.
OCHA in its report stated that several UN agencies, including UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, IOM, WHO, and FAO, as well as 15 other international Non-Governmental Organisations, have scaled up their interventions “as the centre of response moves to Maiduguri.”
“The humanitarian community revised its financial requirement upwards to reflect the needs of the affected population in newly-accessible areas and increased capacity in response due to the scale-up of humanitarian operations in the north-east,” OCHA stated.
Worst affected areas, according to the report include Bama, Banki, Monguno and Dikwa, with an acute malnutrition range of “between 30 and 60 per cent which is associated with a significantly increased risk of child mortality.”
The UN body also said that a spate of Boko Haram attacks targeting traders and food convoys in newly-accessible areas has raised fresh security concerns.
“On 19 September, a military-escorted convoy carrying traders and food along the recently re-opened Damboa-Maiduguri road was ambushed by gunmen who killed five civilians and wounded three soldiers.
“A similar attack was reported on 10 September along the Maiduguri-Monguno road, with the assailants killing six traders and looting food and livestock,” the report read.
According to the report, the priority areas in the revised requirements include: “food assistance for 1.4 million people; agricultural inputs to vulnerable households for 166,000 people and livelihood support for 127,000 people; management of acute and severe acute malnutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene services in the newly-accessible areas; and psychosocial support and response for conflict traumatized people, including children, orphans, unaccompanied minors, and survivors of sexual and gender based violence.”