UN Seeks Nearly $1 Billion to Assist Displaced in Nigeria

GENEVA The United Nations is launching a three-year Humanitarian Response Strategy together with the Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan. The $983 million appeal will assist millions of victims of Boko Haram attacks in northeastern Nigeria and hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled to neighboring countries.

The bulk of the appeal, $848 million, will assist 6.2 million vulnerable people in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.They have been the hardest hit by the decade-long crisis between Boko Haram and Nigeria’s government forces.

Boko Haram, which wants to set up its own Islamic State based on Shariah law, reportedly has killed more than 20,000 people and forced more than two million to flee their homes since the insurgency began in 2009.

Spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, says a recent upsurge in violence has displaced more than 80,000 civilians who have sought refuge in crowded camps or in towns in Borno State.

“In total,” added Laerke, “1.8 million people are internally displaced in the northeast due to this protracted crisis which is characterized by massive abuses against civilians including killings, rape, abduction, child recruitment and burning and pillaging of homes and entire villages.”

Food aid accounts for nearly one third of the appeal.Money also will be used to provide special treatment for some 370,000 severely, acutely malnourished children, for nutrition, health, water and sanitation projects among others.

The U.N. refugee agency and U.N. Development Program are launching Nigeria’s Refugee Response Plan.The agencies are appealing for $135 million to assist more than one-quarter million Nigerian refugees displaced by the worsening Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin region.

The appeal will assist Nigerian refugees in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.Beyond supporting those forced to flee, money also will help the communities hosting the refugees as they themselves are living below the poverty line and are in dire need of aid.

Source: Voice of America