The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and its humanitarian partners on Wednesday launched an inter-agency funding appeal of $157 million for people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin region.
Kelly Clements, Deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said at the appeal launch in Niamey that “the Boko Haram crisis lingers on and is far from over”.
The 47 UN agencies, including the UNHCR, and humanitarian organisations participating in the 2018 Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan will provide support to some 208,000 Nigerian refugees.
The agencies would also provide support for 75,000 of the Nigerian refugees’ 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.
She explained that Nigerian refugees continued to arrive in very remote, impoverished communities in neighbouring countries.
She said 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.”
In September 2017, 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, faced food insecurity.
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,” Ms. Clements stressed.
According to her, in a region where education levels were already among the lowest in the world, the conflict has had a devastating impact.
She regretted that the situation had forced 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,” she stressed.
Ms. Clements said humanitarian aid was needed to uplift services, including shelter, health, education, and water and sanitation sectors.
In 2017, $241 million appeal was only 56 per cent funded, she regretted.