With ‘little hope’ of a quick return to stability in Lake Chad Basin, UN and partners launch aid appeal
With more than a quarter of a million people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin region, the United Nations refugee agency and its humanitarian partners launched on Wednesday an inter-agency funding appeal for $157 million.
“The Boko Haram crisis lingers on and is far from over,” said Kelly T. Clements, Deputy United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at the appeal launch in Niger’s capital Niamey.
The 47 UN agencies, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and humanitarian organizations participating in the 2018 Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan will provide support to some 208,000 Nigerian refugees and 75,000 of their hosts in Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
“The world should not forget the victims of this deadly conflict, especially as there appears to be little hope for a return to peace and stability in the near future,” Ms. Clements underscored.
Nigerian refugees continue to arrive in very remote, impoverished communities in neighbouring countries. Since it started in 2013, the Boko Haram conflict has internally displaced another 2.4 million people in north-east Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
UNHCR called the menacing threat of food insecurity and severe malnutrition “one of the most devastating side effects of the conflict.”
Last September more than 7.2 million people in the Lake Chad Basin, which spans seven countries, including most of Chad and a large part of Niger, were food insecure. Across the vast region, food insecurity and malnutrition have reached critical levels, a situation only made worse over the eight years of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“The future of young generations in the region is at stake, as food insecurity not only affects the dignity of families, but has serious consequences on the physical and cognitive development of children,” stressed Ms. Clements.
In a region where education levels were already among the lowest in the world, the conflict has had a devastating impact – forcing hundreds of schools to close, making education inaccessible and causing school attendance rates to drop.
Refugee-hosting communities are also in dire need of assistance, as their capacity, including basic services infrastructure, is stretched to the limit. Humanitarian aid is needed to uplift services, including in the shelter, health, education, and water and sanitation sectors.
In 2017, a $241 million appeal was only 56 per cent funded.