Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

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Floods and natural disasters affect Nigeria. Photo credit: EU/ECHO/Nicolas Le Guen

What are the needs?

With over 178 million inhabitants, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country. Despite its large oil revenues, it has one of the highest income disparities worldwide and is facing considerable humanitarian challenges and growing inequalities.

The Majority of its population has no access to health, education, clean water or other basic goods and services, making 6.2 million people dependent on external assistance.

Over 1.5 million Nigerian children, living in the eleven most northern states, suffer from acute malnutrition – representing the highest concentration in Africa. The country also has one of the highest child and maternal mortality rates in the world with an estimated 750 000 children under five dying every year, notably from malnutrition and related causes.

The humanitarian challenges are exacerbated by armed violence conducted by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram. A state of emergency has been declared in the most affected states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, but the violence is continuing unabated, spreading beyond the three north-eastern states.

An estimated 1.5 million Nigerians are forcibly displaced within the country and over 230 000 have fled to neighbouring countries. Hundreds of thousands of IDPs are settled in precarious conditions in informal camps, schools, courtyards and open fields in and around towns with little or no assistance provided.

The escalation of violence in the north-east is disrupting local markets and agricultural production, having consequences beyond the borders of Nigeria. The increasing interruption of the regional economy is particularly noted in the food markets as Nigeria is known to be the ''food basket'' of the Sahel.

The country is also regularly affected by major seasonal floods and epidemics, such as cholera. In 2014, Nigeria's health authorities were faced with the challenge of limiting the spread of the Ebola outbreak, which has affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

How are we helping?

The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) supports international relief organisations operating in Nigeria. Since 2010, ECHO has funded humanitarian partners in providing emergency food assistance, health and protection services to displaced people and victims of conflict, as well as in improving the community management of acute malnutrition.

ECHO is currently focusing on providing immediate assistance to the displaced in order to cover their basic needs. However, due to the volatile operating environment and reigning insecurity, a relatively limited number of international actors are present in the country. ECHO is advocating increased presence of international humanitarian actors, including OCHA and UN agencies, in order to increase delivery of coordinated assistance to the most vulnerable, involving national and international institutions.

Since the beginning of 2014, a total of €33 million have been allocated for humanitarian assistance in Nigeria.

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