Nigeria: Life after Boko Haram
The violence unleashed by the Boko Haram terrorist group in north-eastern Nigeria has provoked a humanitarian crisis. 1.7 million Nigerians have been forced to flee from their villages. There is a scarcity of food and water, so that some 5000 people have already been infected with cholera. Terre des hommes (Tdh) has launched an emergency operation in the region to facilitate the population’s access to water and healthcare, and to improve the conditions of hygiene.
For years, north-eastern Nigeria has been marked by the violence of Boko Haram. Victims of attacks and plundering, 1.7 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Evicted from their villages, they found refuge in camps – where there are shortages of almost everything. The poor hygienic conditions favourize an epidemic of cholera that has already led to 60 deaths, and there is a great risk of other diseases appearing.
Half of the Nigerians suffering in this situation are children. We have just started up an emergency operation to bring help to them and their families, in collaboration with the local authorities. The work is concentrated in the north-east of Nigeria, in Borno State. Our initial aid started up in Mafa, a town badly affected by attacks and plundering, which has now been retaken by the regular army, and where 16,000 displaced persons are to be found.
“The living conditions in Mafa are terrible. The people there lack drinking water; there is only one toilet for 150 to 200 people, there is no soap at all and hardly any access to healthcare. Such a state of affairs naturally encourages the appearance of cholera”, explains Rolland Gueneau, an emergency aid expert at Tdh.
Terre des hommes has started by repairing and building 60 new toilets, with water points for handwashing. The water supply has been ensured by overhauling the existing sources. The team there is also distributing hygiene kits of soap and toothbrushes, as well as new jerrycans; they are also making the people aware of measures of hygiene.
Tdh is preparing to equip the local medical centre with medicines and minor medical supplies. “The people who arrive here regain a measure of security. We now have to help them, quickly. Later, we will be looking after the children and families who have found no refuge in the town or who are in places that should soon be made safe and accessible”, adds Rolland Gueneau.
Photo credit: ©Tdh