Nigeria’s silent crisis

Completed

In northeastern Nigeria, the ongoing conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military has resulted in a deadly combination of desperate living conditions, malnutrition, disease and widespread displacement. It is estimated that 2.1 million people have already fled the areas of fighting and at least 1.9 million remain displaced within the country. They seek refuge in towns or camps controlled by the military and are entirely reliant on the outside world for their survival.

Duration
2017-2018
Focus area
Emergency Response
country
Nigeria
partner
Médecins Sans Frontières

Context

Nigeria has seen a deterioration in the security situation of the Lake Chad region since 2009, when Boko Haram radicalized and took up arms, gaining significant ground in northeastern regions and Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States in particular.

In mid-2015, the government's military response escalated, causing population movements to intensify. The UN estimates that 2.1 million people have already fled the areas of fighting and at least 1.9 million remain displaced within the country. Many have sought shelter in military-controlled camps where their freedom of movement is extremely restricted. Yet they are forced to stay because it is not safe to return home. Their situation is appalling, with alarming mortality rates, particularly among children.

Action

Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has been present in Borno State since 2014 and operated in the Banki and Ngala camps, as well as the town of Gamboru, from mid-2016, either through permanent health facilities or frequent visits by dedicated emergency teams.

Its teams treat malnourished children, distribute relief items, and provide medical care, water and sanitation services to 140,000 people, with a particular focus on children under five.

Priority is given to vaccinations and malaria prevention, to monitoring malnutrition and to developing health facilities and the provision of safe water.

Expected results

Drastically reduce morbidity and mortality rates of the displaced population, especially children under five.

Long-term strategy

The displacement of so many people, with little prospect of returning home, risks becoming the new normal. MSF is working with the Nigerian Ministry of Health and the few other humanitarian actors present in the region to provide life-saving assistance.

More info available here.