Humanitarian Response in North-east Below Standard, UN Laments

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Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

The United Nations has decried humanitarian services to victims of Northeast crisis, lamenting that it is not meeting international best standard.

The world body also criticised what it described as dearth of knowledge by some of the key stakeholders in the provision of humanitarian services in the troubled Northeast region.

Speaking at the Humanitarian Stakeholders Forum organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Maiduguri on Thursday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon said services to the troubled Northeast region must be based on international best practices.

He said: “We need to have a better understanding of the gap in the services we are providing for the displaced persons in the camps; it seems we don’t have a better understanding of the gaps.

“We also need to provide services based on international best practices. We are not meeting the best standard; it requires we must work together to provide better services.”

Kallon added: “One thing that is very clear whatever we have done and what we are doing currently is way below international standard.”

He asked the meeting to as a matter of urgency brainstorm on how to relocate 89,000 IDPs, adding that more than 28 hectares of land was needed for this.

He said he was shocked to discover that 20,110 displaced persons were sleeping outside without shelters in Bama, Borno State.

Kallon said: “When I was in Bama, I was shocked with what I saw. Damboa shows another ugly face with over 10,000 without shelter.”

“Camps are over congested, we are under so much pressure to improve on what we are doing; we should not be too proud that we have done extremely well, there is still a lot that needs to be done. I call on NEMA and SEMA that we need to work with the international community to bridge the gap. I am seriously worried about the efficiency and effectiveness of what we are doing to address displacement in Northeast. We should do better and we must do better.”

The NEMA has also painted an ugly picture of handling of humanitarian services in the Northeast, lamenting that over 45,000 IDPs are sleeping in the open in Borno State.

The Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Mustapha Maihajja, who was represented by Director of Planning and Strategy, Mr. Kayode Fagbemi said that the recent challenges faced was as a result of massive arrival of IDPs from some attacked areas in Borno.

According to him, the Northeast Zonal Coordinator said about 45,000 people were without shelter, and this was because of the new arrivals. He said the agency was there to address the challenges as well as to provide food and other items that will bring succour to the people.

He explained that the purpose of conveying the meeting was to tell discuss the challenges and gaps so as to proffer solutions to them.

He said: “We know that the humanitarian situation is getting worse in some areas and there are more critical needs in some areas.”