More than 26 500 people have been killed and more than two million people internally displaced throughout the ten years of ongoing conflict in northeast Nigeria. Insecurity continues to impede access and the delivery of assistance. In 2018, more than seven million people required humanitarian assistance. In the three most affected states, it is estimated that nearly three million people do not have enough to eat and up to 940 000 children suffer from acute malnutrition, 440 000 of whom in its severest, life-threatening form.
In Africa’s most populous country, over 60 percent of the population live below the poverty line and have no access to healthcare, education or safe drinking water. Since the start of the conflict between the armed group Boko Haram and the government of Nigeria in 2009, violence has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians in northeast Nigeria and forced millions of people to flee their homes and become internally displaced. While some have found shelter with relatives, the majority of internally displaced people (IDPs) live in poor conditions in makeshift settlements and rely mostly on support by local communities and aid organisations.
Ongoing hostilities result in further displacement: around 80 000 new IDPs were registered in the last three months between November 2018 and January 2019, with Borno state as the main epicentre of these new displacements. Women and children constitute 87 percent of the newly displaced people. High rates of acute malnutrition and worrying food insecurity levels continue to be a key humanitarian concern. Furthermore, 823 000 people are still in areas to which humanitarian organisations have no access. In addition, due to inadequate hygiene and sanitation, Nigeria is affected by regular epidemics, such as cholera, Lassa fever, polio, meningitis, and measles.
The European Union provides immediate assistance to cover the basic needs of internally displaced people and host communities in Nigeria, and of refugees in other countries in the region affected by the Lake Chad basin crisis, namely Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.
Since 2014, the EU has allocated more than €215.2 million in humanitarian assistance for Nigeria. In 2018 alone, it contributed a total of €59.3 million to cover basic humanitarian needs.
In a bid to meet these basic needs, the EU funds food distribution, clinics providing life-saving nutrition treatment and primary healthcare, access to water and sanitation, hygiene, first-aid items, shelter, and protection.
There are, in addition, several education projects that receive EU humanitarian funding with the purpose of keeping children in school.
Regarding the humanitarian access to people in need, the EU helps to improve access to people in need, for instance, through the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) that enables aid workers to access isolated areas.
EU humanitarian aid also funded the response to the worst Lassa fever outbreak on record in Nigeria in the first semester of 2018, the assistance given to Cameroonian refugees arriving to southeast Nigeria, and the provision for the immediate needs of people affected by floods that hit the southeast of the country.