1224 GMT February 17, 2019
As we know, the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-east, that has spilled over into the Lake Chad region, is one of the most severe in the world today. It is also now in its ninth year. This crisis is a protection crisis first and foremost that has also evolved into a food security and nutrition crisis, Ipsnews reported
7.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance this year in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. These are people who have been displaced and are living in camps or host communities, people who have returned home to nothing, and people living in other areas that are hard to reach for humanitarians.
6.1 million of these people are being targeted for humanitarian assistance in the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan by 60 organizations, including UN agencies and international and national NGOs. This humanitarian assistance ranges from food, protection, water, shelter and sanitation, to medicine, education and agricultural support, and will be delivered to vulnerable women, children and men across the three states.
These figures, and those that you find in the documents, have been arrived at after meticulous and thorough consultation with all humanitarian partners, including the government of Nigeria.
The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-east, that has spilled over into the Lake Chad region, is one of the most severe in the world today. It is also now in its ninth year. This crisis is a protection crisis first and foremost that has also evolved into a food security and nutrition crisis
The aim in 2018 is to build on the humanitarian work carried out in previous years and we have three strategic objectives. The first is to provide life-saving emergency assistance to the most vulnerable people in conflict-affected areas, ensuring that assistance is timely and to-scale.
The second is to ensure that all assistance promotes the protection, safety and dignity of affected people, and is provided equitably to women, girls, men and boys. The third is to help people kick-start their lives again and also reconstruct the foundations of their lives so that they are better prepared to face future crises.
This includes the 1.3 million people who have returned home, but also includes those who have decided to stay where they are and try and rebuild their lives. While nothing should undermine the commitment to principled humanitarian action, there is a shared moral imperative to sustainably reduce people’s dependence on humanitarian aid and support self-reliance.
This year, we, a community of 60 organizations working to implement the HRP, will aim to provide food assistance, including through improved agriculture, to 3.7 million people. Because grave violations of human rights continue to take place daily, we aim to support 2.7 million vulnerable women, children and men with protection services. Medical care is also a priority and will be provided to 5.1 million people.
Many children and pregnant and nursing women are malnourished as a result of the crisis, and nutritional supplements and support will be given to 2.7 million of them. In many locations, access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities remains a big problem: We will aim to support 2.7 million people in need of those basic services. We will provide shelter and basic household items to 1.3 million persons living in camps or host communities.
About 2.2 million children and teachers will be supported through education assistance, including through the provision of safe spaces for learning, school supplies and teacher trainings. Finally, for longer-term impact, 2.7 million people will be supported in accessing basic public services and restarting their lives.
And all of the above interventions will be guided, every day, by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
Last year, the humanitarian community provided life-saving assistance to 5.6 million people. Several successes were achieved. Notably, the number of food insecure people was reduced from 5.1 million to 3.9 million. A cholera outbreak was contained through the innovative use of an oral cholera vaccine. 1.3 million farmers were assisted to help improve agricultural production.
And thousands of children were supported to go to school, against all odds. These results — which are just examples of the many positive results that I have myself witnessed in many areas of the north-east — can be attributed to strong coordination, extensive engagement and generous funding.
*Edward Kallon is the UN resident/humanitarian coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Nigeria.