Civilians in Nigeria pay heavy price as armed conflict escalates

By agency reporter
February 6, 2019

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports that a health facility in Rann and shelters for internally displaced people were burnt down, in a series of attacks in north-east Nigeria’s Borno state that have caused the largest wave of displacement since 2017. Two ICRC midwives who were killed in captivity last year once worked at the burnt-down health facility.

“Thousands of families caught in between the fighting have had to flee for their lives. Parents with their children, taking the little they could, escaped into the bush and slept in the open air. Some managed to reach places – ‘camps’ – where they can receive some assistance, but what about the others?” said  Markus Dolder, head of the ICRC’s office in Maiduguri.

“We are extremely concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation in north-east Nigeria. Civilians should be spared by all parties to the conflict, as per international humanitarian law”, Dolder added.

Reportedly, 55,000 people have been displaced in the last two months, over 30,000 of whom arrived in Borno’s capital Maiduguri. The city already hosts more than one million internally displaced persons (IDP) in 14 camps as well as host communities. Because the existing camps cannot cope with the sudden influx, the authorities are in the process of opening a new IDP camp.

The ICRC has launched an emergency response in Maiduguri in coordination with other humanitarian actors and the authorities. The building of temporary shelters for 1,500 households is under way. The distribution of essential household items and a one-off cash support for all new arrivals, who are scattered  through the various IDP camps, have been started.

* International Committee of the Red Cross https://www.icrc.org/en

[Ekk/6]

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