European Group: Humanitarian Needs Escalate In North-East Nigeria

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• Says over 2m internally displaced

Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental committee for European migration, said on Tuesday that the Boko Haram conflict affecting the Lake Chad Basin area, particularly in northeast Nigeria, has resulted in large scale displacement and a significant protection crisis.

In a statement released by its media unit, the international organisation, which helped resettle people displaced by World War II, with offices in 168 countries said that in Nigeria alone, over 2.2 million people are internally displaced, including many living in temporary sites without basic services, where conditions fail to meet the most basic standards.

‘’Numbers are growing rapidly as aid agencies gain access to more areas’’, the IOM added

IOM said that it had so far provided humanitarian support to nearly 325,000 people in northeast Nigeria through provision of non-food relief items, shelter, psychological first aid, camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) and training to meet SPHERE minimum standards in humanitarian relief.

The organisation said It needs significantly more financial support to continue to provide shelter, displacement tracking and biometric registration, camp management and psycho-social help for people affected by the crisis

IOM leads the shelter and CCCM cluster, together with the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), implemented in close collaboration with the government, is the principal tool through which essential data on displacement levels, locations and conditions are collected, analyzed and shared.

The organisation further stated that significant resources had been mobilized over the past 18 months with steps taken by IOM to deploy additional technical experts in the area of shelter, camp management and displacement tracking.

According to the Director-General of IOM, William Lacy Swing, ‘’Economic disruption caused by on-going violence has left millions in a situation of acute food insecurity, prompting the Nigerian authorities to declare a food and nutrition emergency in Borno state, where most of the internally displaced are located. Women, children and the elderly are at particular risk.’’

‘’Conditions in the region have now deteriorated to a point where it now meets the criteria required to activate Level 3 emergency status, the highest level of humanitarian crisis’’,

He said that the Level 3 Emergency Response would initially be for six months and will apply to IOM’s relief operations in Nigeria, and related activities carried out in neighbouring countries, hoping that this would result in a better resourced and more coordinated response to the major humanitarian crisis.

On his part, the Chief of Mission of IOM Nigeria, Enira Krdzalic, said: “The condition of internally displaced people in the northeast is still very precarious. The majority are women, children and the elderly.

‘’They are exposed to harsh living conditions due to large scale destruction of their houses and farms by Boko Haram, as well as acute food shortages and lack of medical services. IOM will not abandon these people and we are appealing to the donor community for help. IOM will continue working with Nigerian authorities not to abandon these people and we are appealing to the donor community for help.”