Abuja - A brewing humanitarian emergency has reached catastrophic levels in northeastern Nigeria, with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calling for a massive relief effort in order to help those desperately in need.
MSF has lamented the desperate living conditions of internally displace people (IDPs) in Borno State, with an ongoing conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military forcing scores to seek refuge in camps entirely reliant on outside aid.
"Although a nutrition emergency was declared three months ago, there has been a serious failure to help the people of Borno," said Hugues Robert, head of MSF’s emergency response.
At least 80 000 people in the town of Ngala were currently living in a camp that had been cut off from the rest of society, leaving many "dangerously malnourished and in need of healthcare".
Effectively stranded and unable to leave, those living in the camp faced an extreme humanitarian crisis, with residents reporting that they received less than half a litre of water per person per day.
The living conditions were equally as deplorable in Gambaru, where MSF reported that one in seven children who underwent nutritional screening were found to be suffering from acute malnutrition.
In Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, the situation was evermore alarming, with malnutrition rates recorded as being as high as those in conflict areas.
More than half of the 2.5 million people living in the state capital have been displaced from other areas of Borno, with one in five children found to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition, leading to the mortality rate being five times higher than what would be considered emergency levels.
"To avert an even greater humanitarian disaster, food and medical care must be delivered now to remote and accessible areas in Borno state. Nigerian authorities have a responsibility to make sure this happens for the sake of thousands who are at risk of imminent death," says Natalie Roberts, MSF emergency programme manager.