IDP camps have become death traps, laments Norwegian Refugee Council

NRC.pic

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is worried that Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps in north-eastern Nigeria have become death traps.

Following Tuesday’s multiple suicide bomb blasts that killed 27 and injured 83 outside a camp sheltering displaced people in Konduga, Maiduguri, Borno State, NRC urged the Nigerian military to tighten security around displaced people.

It noted that attacks on civilians sheltering in displacement sites were on the rise, worsening an already dire situation for people on the brink of famine in north-east.

“We need to see the Nigerian government stepping up to protect civilians in displacement camps. It’s their primary responsibility,” Ernest Mutanga, NRC’s head of programmes in Nigeria, said.

The international humanitarian organisation warned that more communities are becoming vulnerable to Boko Haram attacks, and towns previously considered safe for civilians were also coming under attack.

According to NRC, 190 security incidents involving civilians were reported in July — a figure that was substantially more than the total combined for May and June. Also of note was an increase in the number of attacks on sites sheltering displaced civilians.

“On 23 July, a suicide bomber killed three people and injured 17 others in a displacement (IDP) camp in Borno State,” Mulanga continued.

“The same day another suspected female suicide bomber was shot dead by the military as she tried to climb a perimeter wall surrounding an IDP camp.

“Five days earlier on 28 July, five people were killed and six wounded in Dikwa town when two suicide bombers detonated explosives in an area sheltering displaced families. Dikwa town was previously considered safe from the time the Nigerian military took control of it a year ago.

“Camps sheltering innocent families fleeing war should be places of refuge. But instead they are turning into death traps. Armed groups in this conflict are pushing people from one hell into another.”

NRC said insecurity was hampering the humanitarian response.

“NRC staff had to temporarily suspend operations in Mamenti area of Maiduguri City in June because of threats from armed groups. Hundreds of people did not receive food, clean water and hygiene support as a result,” it said.






     

     

    “The arrival of the rainy season has worsened access to communities, already causing flooding in multiple areas. Heavy rains are preventing helicopters from landing, and cutting road access.

    “NRC has had to have cranes accompany some truck deliveries of aid into displacement camps, as the small feeder roads are often flooded. This substantially increases the costs of aid delivery.

    “Northeast Nigeria is already experiencing a widespread food crisis, with food security experts forecasting a rise in the number of people facing crisis, emergency and famine conditions from 4.7 million to 5.2 million by the end of the month. This includes 50,000 people forecast to be affected by famine-like conditions.”

    It pointed out that the worsening situation in Nigeria comes as aid organisations prepare to mark World Humanitarian Day this week on 19 August, and called for better protection of civilians targeted in conflict.

     

    Chikezie can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @KezieOmeje

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