Interview: Nigeria's humanitarian situation still alarming: ICRC official - OPINIONS - Humanrights


Interview: Nigeria's humanitarian situation still alarming: ICRC official
June 22,2017   By:Xinhua

ABUJA, June 22, 2017 -- Nigeria's humanitarian situation is still quite alarming, despite efforts by the government and international partners to abate the challenges, an official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday.

"Though the overall humanitarian response has increased since 2016, it remains inadequate and insufficient to respond to the scale and depth of the challenges," Aleksandra Matijevic, communications coordinator of the ICRC in Nigeria, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"We are alarmed by the humanitarian situation, with some of the highest human costs in the world," she said.

The armed conflict in Nigeria's northeast, which has spilled over into neighboring countries, continues to create dire humanitarian needs following massive displacements of the population, Matijevic noted.

"We are very worried about the situation of the many displaced people located in areas where humanitarian aid does not reach due to the prevailing insecurity," she said.

An estimated 14 million Nigerians are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, according to data given by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The six-year-old insurgency of Boko Haram had an impact on 26 million people living in the northeastern region of the country.

The 14 million people in need of humanitarian assistance are scattered across the country, especially Borno, Adamawa and Yobe - three northeast states which are the worst-hit by the Boko Haram insurgency.

This situation is being worsened by an unprecedented influx of returning refugees from neighboring countries, especially Cameroon.

Some of almost two million persons displaced from their homes had to flee more than once, and close to 80 percent of the displaced have been received by local communities that lack resources to sustain them.

The ICRC has been working with the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) toward ensuring that the most basic needs of people affected by armed conflict in hard-to-reach areas of the northeast are met, by providing food and shelter and helping to access health, water, and sanitation.

"With the help of the NRCS and other Red Cross societies in the Lake Chad Region, we have been working across the region to locate, and where possible, reunite families, offering Red Cross messages and free phone calls to separated family members," Matijevic said.

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