UNICEF more than doubles its funding appeal to provide life-saving assistance for children in northeast Nigeria


UNICEF more than doubles its funding appeal to provide life-saving assistance for children in northeast Nigeria

Mataram (yellow veil) and a boy pump water from a water hole installed by UNICEF in a displaced people camp in Garin Wazam, Niger on August 10, 2016. Garin Wazam is located 55km east of Diffa town and currently host an estimated 22,800 individuals, refugees, internally displaced and host community according to the authorities of Niger. Most of them are Peul, Boudouma and Haoussa and come from Bosso, Yebi and Toumour, having arrived end of May, beginning of June 2016 after Boko Haram attacks. Since July 22th, Garin Wazam now has 6 new boreholes constructed by ACTED with UNICEF support. Before that, the water supply was made possible thanks to water trucking only. 

Boko Haram attacks have caused a population displacement and security crisis in the Diffa region. Today, Diffa hosts an estimated 300,000 displaced people (including Nigerian refugees, Nigerien returnees from Nigeria and IDPs), many settled along the RN1, the main road crossing the region. This number includes an estimated 69,000 newly displaced people as a result of the May and June 2016 attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram in Bosso, Yebi and Kablewa. The newly displaced settled on existing sites, putting an enormous pressure on the temporary health facilities in place on the various RN1 sites.UNICEF works to increase access to safe water through the construction/rehabilitation/improvement of water points, installation of emergency water supply devices and water trucking. The agency also promote adequate hygiene practices, distribute water purification products and soap and collaborate with partners to increase access to sanitation facilities in the sites for displaced people and strengthen maintenance and management of water points with implementation and training of committees.

© UNICEF/UN029101/Phelps

ABUJA/DAKAR/NEW YORK/HONG KONG, 29 September 2016 – UNICEF has revised its humanitarian appeal for Nigeria from approx. HK$429 million (US$ 55 million) to approx. HK$897 million (US$ 115 million) to assist an additional 750,000 people who can now be reached across conflict-affected areas in the northeast of the country.

As new areas open up to humanitarian assistance, the true scale of the Boko Haram related crisis and its impact on children is being revealed. An estimated 400,000 children under five will suffer from severe acute malnutrition in three states across the northeast this year. More than 4 million people are facing severe food shortages and 65,000 people are living in famine-like conditions, mostly in Borno, the worst affected state.

“Children’s lives are literally hanging by a thread,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes. “We are reaching new areas to provide critical humanitarian assistance but we need greater international support to further scale up and reach all children in dire need,” she added.

The destruction of whole towns and villages further complicates the response. Sixty percent of health clinics have been partially or completely destroyed and 75 percent of water and sanitation facilities require rehabilitation in Borno state.

Nearly one million children are now displaced across the northeast, a million are out of school and hundreds of thousands psychologically affected from the horrors they have lived through.

The conflict-related lack of access to children has also lead to an outbreak of polio in Borno state, where three cases of wild polio virus were confirmed in August and September. UNICEF’s funding appeal comes as a series of massive coordinated emergency polio immunisation and nutrition campaigns in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring countries is underway, targeting 1.8 million children in Borno state alone. The immunisation campaign is also identifying and treating children with severe malnutrition.

UNICEF has increased its response in the areas worst-affected by the Boko Haram conflict since April, supporting basic health care and nutrition for children and mothers, and helping provide safe water and sanitation, child protection services and learning opportunities.

Since the beginning of 2016, 2.6 million conflicted-affected people have been given access to UNICEF-supported preventative healthcare services and nearly 75,000 children have been treated for severe acute malnutrition in northeast Nigeria. The construction and rehabilitation of boreholes has provided nearly half a million people with improved access to safe water. Safe learning spaces, teacher training and educational supplies have helped over 72,000 children to restart their education and some 133,000 children have been provided with psychosocial support.

To date, just approx. HK$218.4 million (US$ 28 million) of the approx. HK$897 million (US$ 115 million) appeal has been received and this presents a serious obstacle to UNICEF’s scale up plan.