North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid attackers’ ‘increased sophistication’
An upsurge in violent attacks in north-east Nigeria has displaced nearly 60,000 people in the last three months, the UN migration agency, IOM, said on Tuesday.
Armed extremists, notably Boko Haram militants, have contributed to a decade-long humanitarian crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states, that has spilled over into the Lake Chad region.
Here’s IOM Nigeria’s Chief of Mission, Frantz Celestin:
“In the last two years, we have not seen that many people on the move. And it’s been – what we’ve seen in the last few months – especially the last two months of the year, is an increased sophistication of the non-state armed groups, an increased number of attacks and success in taking towns.”
Since the start of the crisis, more than 27,000 people have been killed in the three north-eastern BAY states, according to UN humanitarian coordinating office, OCHA, and thousands of women and girls have been abducted.
Government efforts to drive back the non-state armed groups that operate in north-eastern Nigeria have been hindered by the Harmattan dust cloud – an annual phenomenon that sweeps across west Africa from approximately November to March.
Tens of thousands of civilians have fled into already overcrowded camps, mainly in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, while others have sought refuge in neighbouring states in the Lake Chad region.
$202 million appeal for life-saving aid to half a million Libyans
A more than $200 million appeal has been launched to bring life-saving assistance to 550,000 Libyans affected by the conflict and political instability there.
The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan is a joint initiative by the UN together with the internationally recognized Government of National Accord in the North African country.
Libya has been in crisis since former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011, with armed conflict ongoing in the oil-rich State that has forced tens of thousands of families into displacement.
Today, more than a million people depend on aid to survive.
Jens Laerke from the UN humanitarian wing, OCHA, said that a quarter of a million children were among those in need of help. “This includes internally displaced persons and returnees, conflict-affected people, host communities and refugees and migrants who face grave human rights violations and abuse in the absence of rule of law. Most of the people in need are in highly populated urban areas in the western and eastern regions of Libya. However, those with the most critical and severe needs are in the coastal area of Sirt, and in the southern parts of the country where access is difficult due to instability.”
The development comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that attacks on health facilities and workers are increasing across Libya “in both frequency and scale”.
Last year, the UN health agency recorded more than 41 assaults on health workers and facilities. Six health workers and patients were killed, and 25 health professionals were injured.
Almost 75 per cent of health facilities are now closed or only partially functioning, WHO said.
Tech transformation saves UN food agency millions in first year
A new tech-driven approach to delivering life-saving aid around the world has saved the UN emergency food relief agency tens of millions of dollars, potentially increasing its impact massively, it said on Tuesday.
The World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with data management firm Palantir, tested the software in Iraq, where it spends about $300 million a year on food basket distribution.
In just one year, the company’s Josh Harris said that the trial resulted in savings worth around $26 million. Here he is explaining how the idea works:
“The system is actually saying, ‘Ok, we have these goods that about to expire, we need to put them in the food basket; we have these goods that are the same nutritional value as these goods, so you can use these instead, they’ll be cheaper… and basically you have an optimized way to deliver a food basket, whereas previously it was done in a very manual, labour-intensive way…the WFP spends roughly $3 billion a year on food, if we can accomplish at least continued 10 per cent savings, that’s an additional 600 million meals that the WFP is able to provide without asking for one dollar more from any government sponsor or organization.”
Every year, WFP buys about three million tonnes of food, which it distributes in 80 countries to around 90 million people.
The trial is being extended to South Sudan and Ethiopia, and could save the agency $100 million, it says.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.