8.5m need life-saving assistance in North-east – UN

By Taiye Odewale

United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) has stated that over 8.5 million persons are in dire need of life-saving support due to humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east.
The agency said in its October North-east Humanitarian Report, that 6.9 million displaced persons were targeted for life-saving assistance in 2017.
The fact-sheet showed that 5.2 million people were facing food insecurity and 5.1 million persons were targeted for food security interventions.
It indicated that humanitarian organisations, in collaboration with the federal government, had provided support to three million persons under the emergency food intervention programme.
The agency further disclosed that 3.4 million persons, particularly children, expectant and nursing mothers, needed nutrition support, adding that 2.7 million were targeted for assistance.
It also stated that 2.1 million persons had so far benefited from various nutrition interventions designed to control malnutrition in the war ravaged region.
UN-OCHA noted that more than 5.6 million of the estimated 6.9 million persons received health care service support through effective interventions provided by humanitarian organisations.
The report disclosed that four million persons benefited from outpatient services and 1.6 million persons under mobile medical activities.
It also revealed that 2.9 million children needed education support, adding that 986, 100 of the 1.6 million targeted children received education intervention since January.
“Some 787, 000 children received formal and non-formal education support, and 138, 400 children were provided with learning materials.
“Psycho-social support and basic life skills training were conducted for 11, 500 teachers,” it said, noting that humanitarian organisations received only 18 per cent of the total funding required.”
The document showed that 3.9 million people needed water, sanitation and hygiene services and that the agency provided support to two million of the 2.4 million persons targeted for interventions.
Other highlights of the activities of the agency include; provision of safe drinking water to 2 million displaced persons and distribution of hygiene kits to 1.1 million people, while 773, 000 persons were provided with improved sanitation facilities.
On protection, the agency said over 6.9 million people needed protection intervention, explaining that 2.4 persons were reached with intervention in the affected states.
OCHA, however, decried the spate of violence against civilians and IDPs, stressing that urgent measures were necessary to enhance protection and security of persons affected by the conflict.
It said, improved funding was imperative to fast track implementation of humanitarian interventions to address the crisis caused by the insurgency.
“The humanitarian crisis in the North-east remains severe due to ongoing conflict, continued internal displacement and unpredictable return of refugees from neighbouring countries.
“Attacks against civilians including suicide bombings in and near sites for IDPs continue to be a major concern.
“At least seven person-borne explosive device attacks took place in October near Maiduguri. In planning and programming, the month of October is dedicated by humanitarian partners to carry in-depth assessment. The findings will feed into the humanitarian overview and 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan.”

‘Crisis beyond FG’
Meanwhile, the senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has said the humanitarian crisis in the North-east has become worrisome because its daily increasing ravaging effect has made it the worst in the world.
Ndume, who travelled to the Holy Land of Mecca penultimate week for prayer the same day he resumed from his six-month suspension, yesterday, stressed that the crisis has defied the federal government’s capacity to tackle it alone.
This was just as the Upper Chamber reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the security challenge in the North-east, urging its ad-hoc committee charged with reviewing the nation’s security architecture, in collaboration with stakeholders early constituted last week, to broaden their mandate to include the entire North-east crisis.
The Senate resolution followed a motion by Senator Ndume on the worrisome state of security in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
Senate President Bukola Saraki urged the ad-hoc committee to report back to the Senate within five weeks.
Making his observation, Ndume commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the fight against insurgency in the North-east for relocating Armed Forces Command to Borno on assumption of office in 2015.
While admitting that the president’s decision had led to the degrading of the insurgents, the lawmaker nevertheless expressed concern that the level of attack by the insurgents had escalated to worrisome level since the beginning of this year
Giving some statistical data, he said, “in the year 2017, more than 357 civilians were killed during 55 attacks in the North-east. The deadliest month was in August when the militant group killed 100 people, followed by November with 76 people killed already.
“Recently, 3 soldiers and a child were killed in Magumeri in Borno, several civilians were killed in Madagali in Adamawa, and eight soldiers were killed in Sasawa in Yobe state.”
Ndume also noted that up till date, 103 Chibok girls, 10 women from Askira/Uba and lately three staff of the University of Maiduguri remain in captivity.
Ndume, who observed that the worrisome cases of suicide bombing in Borno, and most recently Mubi in Adamawa where 50 people were killed and several others wounded, has shot up the over 4.8 million figure of the affected people, going by UN agency report.

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