Parts of Borno “hard-to-reach and inaccessible” – UN

Boko Haram
Boko Haram

The United Nations, UN, office for the coordination of humanitarian activities, OCHA said many people could face the risk of hunger and diseases in the hinterlands of Borno State because their locations are inaccessible due to the activities of Boko Haram insurgents.

It stated this in the September 2017 update on Humanitarian Situation released by OCHA.

The report said lives of many displaced persons are being threatened with the growing lack of food, insecurity and that malnutrition levels remain life-threatening in many areas.

The report said “humanitarian agencies have prioritised efforts to contain the cholera outbreak that started on 16 August in Borno (in Dikwa, Monguno, Mafa and the outskirts of Maiduguri). And within six weeks, close to 4,360 suspected or confirmed cases of cholera were recorded, with 60 related deaths.

“Health and sanitation actors have been working around the clock, in support of the Borno State health authorities, to open specialised treatment centres and oral rehydration points, inform communities on best hygiene practices, and to carry out the first-ever oral cholera vaccination campaign in Nigeria targeting close to 850,000 people”, the report said.

Due to the sustained efforts of humanitarian actor, the report said the outbreak was relatively brought under control, even as health officials still fear the risk of the disease spreading further.

On food security and nutrition, the OCHA said there are still many places that are “hard-to-reach and inaccessible” for humanitarian workers. It added that some of the farmers in safe locations of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states have begun to record early harvests.

“Farmers are reporting healthy yields thanks to favourable rains and the distribution of improved seeds (which take less time to germinate) and fertilisers by humanitarian partners.”

The report estimated that “harvests of those who benefitted from agricultural support over the past three months may cover their staple food needs for up to eight months and therefore could mitigate the food assistance required as of October.”

On the management of displaced persons, the UN agency noted new cases of population movements in the country sides involving nearly 4000 persons.

“New population movements took place in September, with Gwoza recording the highest number of new arrivals (2,877), followed by Kukawa and Ngala (453 and 437 respectively); other locations like Lamurde and Mubi South, in Adamawa State, recorded relatively high numbers of departures”, OCHA said.

Despite the recent claims by the military authority in the North-east that the Boko Haram insurgency might soon be rooted out completely, the UN OCHA worried about the resurgence of Boko Haram hostilities especially during the dry season.

“With the dry season kicking off and most roads becoming passable again, it is anticipated that hostilities will intensify, which is expected to further exacerbate displacement trends, especially in Borno State.”

The report further stated that civilians have continued to suffer attacks from Boko Haram suicide bombers. It said that in September alone at least five suicide attacks took place in Borno alone.

“The most significant incident happened on September 8 in Konduga, close to an IDP camp: 18 civilians were killed and 40 were injured, making it the deadliest suicide bombing recorded in North-east Nigeria since the beginning of the year.

“Other types of attacks against civilians continue as well: dozens of civilians were attacked while farming near Rann and in villages in Konduga, Damboa, Ngala, Mafa and Gwoza, and four military-escorted civilian convoys were attacked on the road between Mafa and Dikwa.”

The UN body re-echoed the need for additional funding especially as response as it gets to the final quarter of the year so that the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan target could be achieved.

“Certain sectors that are key in kick-starting the transition into the recovery phase – such as Health, Education, and Response and Recovery Planning – continue to be dramatically under-funded with respectively 21, 12 and 5 per cent of the required funding received as of 30 September.”

The OCHA is a United Nations (UN) body formed in December 1991 by General Assembly Resolution 46/182 which was designed to strengthen the UN’s response to complex emergencies and natural disasters.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been edited to better reflect the content of the UN report.

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