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Nigerian refugees seen exacerbating hunger across borders

08 May 2015, 12:08

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said the Boko Haram crisis would worsen the malnutrition crisis in vulnerable communities in neighbouring countries Nigerians have sought refuge.

Locals have fled the Boko Haram crisis in droves to Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The terror has displaced close to 2 million inNigeria

WFP said it was concerned about the precarious nutrition situation of new arrivals in the countries bordering on northern Nigeria, where the Boko Haram crisis is most prevalent.

Malnutrition rates among children under five and nursing mothers, surpass the 15 percent emergency threshold (28 percent in Niger and 19 percent in Cameroon).

In communities hosting the waves of refugees and displaced people malnutrition-related admissions to health centres have recently peaked.

Also read: Boko Haram refugees suffer "dramatic" conditions

The current lean season - when hunger needs are greatest - coincides with the rainy season, bringing added health risks, officials said.

Violence involving Boko Haram is fuelling new displacement. In the past few days, thousands of people in Niger and Chad have been forced to flee their homes in search for safety. In Cameroon, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) has tripled in the past four months, whilst across all three countries, the number of IDPs is nearly the same now as the number of Nigerian refugees.

“No one is untouched by the Boko Haram violence. Across the borders, farmers, fishermen, cross-border traders and herders have suffered significant losses. Crises involving refugees, displaced people, food and nutrition are converging on the poorest parts of West Africa,” Denise Brown, WFP Regional Director for West Africa, said.

Brown said WFP was ready to scale up its response rapidly to meet growing needs if it had sufficient funding to do so.

“Vulnerable communities in dire need of help in these three countries cannot afford to have less than half the support that they so urgently need,” said Brown.

- CAJ News


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