In seven years of conflict in north-eastern Nigeria, over 20 000 people have been killed and 1.82 million displaced. The humanitarian situation remains dramatic and the high level of insecurity across the area continues to seriously hamper access and the delivery of assistance. Therefore, urgent needs remain largely unmet. In 2017, 8.5 million people will need humanitarian assistance. There are 5.2 million people who are experiencing acute food insecurity, with an increased risk of high levels of acute malnutrition and mortality.
In Africa’s most populous country, over 60% of the population live below the poverty line and has no access to health care, education nor safe drinking water or other basic goods and services. The population is particularly vulnerable in the North.
Since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009, the armed group’s violence and the military response have claimed the lives of thousands of civilians in north-eastern Nigeria and forced 1.82 million people to flee, becoming internally displaced. While some found shelter with relatives, the majority lives in precarious conditions in informal settlements and mostly rely on the charity of local communities.
Increased attention has to be paid to the current food crisis in the northeast, driven by insecurity which has already massive consequences. High rates of acute malnutrition - well beyond the emergency threshold - and worrying food insecurity levels remain key humanitarian concerns, with reported pockets of population that could be facing famine, as up to 800 000 people remain beyond the reach of humanitarian organisations.
According to UNICEF, without adequate treatment, approximately 20% of those children are likely to die. Health care, nutrition and the protection of displaced people and other victims of violence are also priorities.
The European Commission is providing immediate assistance to cover the basic needs of those internally displaced, host populations in Nigeria as well as refugees in other countries affected by the Lake Chad basin crisis, namely Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Funds go to food distributions, to clinics providing lifesaving nutrition medical care, as well as to ensure access to water and sanitation, hygiene, first-need items, shelter and protection. They also contribute to increased access, through the Humanitarian Air Service, and to the coordination of humanitarian organisations.
Since 2014, the European Commission’s humanitarian office has allocated over €155 million for humanitarian assistance in Nigeria. Annual budgets have been increased several times throughout the year as needs evolve. In 2017 alone, a total of €59.5 million has so far been allocated to cover the basic humanitarian needs of the victims of the crisis in Nigeria.
The Commission has announced a new support package of €248 million that will combine short term EU humanitarian aid (€105 million) and long term development (€143 million) for the early recovery and reconstruction needs of conflict-affected populations in Northeast Nigeria..
The Commission also advocates for safe humanitarian access and an increased operational presence of humanitarian organisations on the ground so that more people in need can be reached.