700,000 people in north-east Nigeria need aid desperately, says UN

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A displaced community meets under a tree in Tagal, Chad after Boko Haram insurgents attacked their village. Photo: OCHA/Ivo Brandau

An estimated 700,000 people remain beyond the reach of aid workers and are living in desperate conditions in north-eastern Nigeria, the UN said on Tuesday.

The Boko Haram insurgency which is now in its eighth year has killed over 20,000 people and caused 1.8 million to flee their homes.

According to OCHA, the UN Humanitarian Coordinating Agency, many refugees returning from Cameroon and neighbouring countries in recent weeks as a result of the on-going conflict, lack basic necessities.

Mihika Acharya has more.

Speaking in Geneva, Edward Kallon, Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, warned of the dire situation in north-east Nigeria.

"An estimated 700,000 people are expected, currently caught up, behind the battle lines from Boko Haram. …What have seen is that when areas are liberated, and when people are coming out, we have seen very ugly faces of vulnerability especially among women and children. We have seen signs of starvation."

Some 6.9 million people urgently need life-saving aid across the region, where Boko Haram first emerged.

And there is a looming threat of famine there.

All this amid ongoing access problems because of insecurity as government forces continue to push back Boko Haram insurgents.

Mr Kallon added that more than 7,500 men, boys and women have reported sexual violence abuses since the start of the conflict in the last eight years.

The UN agency also warned that 450,000 children are at risk of dying from diseases linked to severe acute malnutrition if other areas become inaccessible owing to flooding in the coming months.

Mihika Acharya

United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’12″

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