Over seven million IDPs need humanitarian assistance in North East – UN
The United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (HERC), Mark Lowcock, has said over seven million people; are dire need of humanitarian assistance in insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe.
According to him, the year’s deteriorating humanitarian situation in Borno is a growing concern; among governments and humanitarian partners.
Lowcock in a statement, Friday in Maiduguri, the state capital, said: “Ten years of conflict and violence perpetrated by Boko Haram and other non-state armed groups have devastated communities.
He said during his visits to Borno in September 2017 and October 2018, he met many victims of decade long insurgency, adding: “I met many of the ordinary people who have been the victims of this crisis. More than 7 million people currently need humanitarian assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states,” he said.
He also thanked the efforts of Nigerian authorities and others for regaining control of areas ravaged by insurgents between 2016 and 2018 and that during the period, over two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), were able to return to their respective liberated communities.
He noted that renewed violence perpetrated by Boko Haram insurgents has sparked an upsurge in forced displacement in Borno, with over 140,000 people forced flee this year, lamenting that many farmers have missed multiple planting seasons with over 3 million people insecure of food.
He therefore called for a “military and security measures” against the insurgents, as a necessary and legitimate part of the response of Nigerian authorities, noting: “Military action needs to be proportionate and avoid adding to the plight of civilians, huge numbers of whom have suffered terribly as a result of the actions of the terrorists and insurgents.
“Military action on its own will not solve this problem.”
He urged the Nigerian Government and North East Development Commission (NEDC) to implement wider measures to address the root causes of the crisis, relieve humanitarian suffering, and promote stabilisation, recovery, and development.
He said in 2019, UN and humanitarian partners have provided critical and life-saving assistance to more than 3.8 million people, saying: “They have been operating in the most challenging circumstances.
He said that 38 UN and NGO workers, most of them Nigerians, have been killed since 2011. He further disclosed that 10 aid workers have also died with six still missing; as a result of violence by Boko Haram and other non-state armed groups in the last year and a half.
He said all international NGOs working in the north-east are authorized to operate through the Government registration process and local approvals from relevant authorities.
On suspension of humanitarian agencies, he said: “I have received assurances from the relevant authorities that the suspension of activities of Mercy Corps and Action Against Hunger announced in September will soon be lifted.
“This would enable immediate resumption of life-saving assistance to nearly 400,000 people who have been without food and other essential help for the last month.”
He also assured of Government plans to bring together next week all the relevant stakeholders, including the UN and NGOs, to discuss the shared challenges in Borno.
He said a dialogue between Government and the international community, including international NGOs, in pursuit of the shared goals of bringing peace, promoting recovery, and assisting and protecting innocent civilians in region.
According to him, the civilian populace, have been the main victims of the conflict, which everyone should be concerned, stating: “The UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Edward Kallon, and his team based in Nigeria remain at the disposal of the Government and others in support of those goals,” he said.
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