ICRC Decries Insecurity, Worsening Humanitarian Situation in N’east

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Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that it is worried by the spate of insecurity and worsening humanitarian situation in North-east Nigeria.

The ICRC, in a statement Monday said it has been reported that 55,000 people have been displaced in the last two months, with over 30,000 of them arriving Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to compound the humanitarian crisis in the town.

The statement said Maiduguri already hosts more than one million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 14 camps as well as host communities, and because the existing camps cannot cope with the sudden influx, the authorities are in the process of opening a new IDP camp.

It said in order to address the latest humanitarian crisis, ICRC has launched an emergency response in Maiduguri in collaboration with other humanitarian actors and the authorities.

Also, the building of temporary shelters for 1,500 households is under way, the distribution of essential household items and a one-off cash support for all new arrivals, scattered in the various IDP camps have started.

The Head of ICRC’s office in Maiduguri, Markus Dolder, was quoted as lamenting that: “Thousands of families caught in between the fighting have had to flee for their lives. Parents with their children, taking the little they could, escaped into the bush and slept in the open air.

“Some managed to reach places — ‘camps’ — where they can receive some assistance, but what about the others?

“We are extremely concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation in North-east Nigeria. Civilians should be spared by all parties to the conflict, as per international humanitarian law.”

The statement lamented that a health facility in Rann and shelters for IDPs were burnt down a few days ago, the latest in a series of attacks in North-east Nigeria’s Borno State that have caused the largest wave of displacement since 2017.
The burnt-down health facility was where two ICRC midwives who were killed in captivity last year once worked.