The longstanding violence between herders and farmers in Nigeria’s Benue, Kaduna, and Plateau states has increased in recent years. In 2016, at least 800 people were killed in southern Kaduna and 1,269 in Benue state, where at least 14 of the 23 LGAs were invaded.
The February 2016 attack on 10 villages in Agatu LGA, for instance, displaced over 7,000 people. With the state government unable to provide or maintain camps and relief, IDPs are unable to meet their basic needs. At least 62,000 people have been displaced in the three states since 2015.
The BH insurgency and the military’s counterinsurgency has resulted in a severe crisis in Nigeria’s northeast. More than 20,000 people have been killed and 4,000 women and girls abducted since the conflict began eight years ago. 1.6 million people remain internally displaced.
The number of people with protection needs has grown from 2.6 million in 2015 to 6.7 million in 2017, as areas that were previously held by BH have been become accessible. Needs result from attacks on communities, chronic insecurity, and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Women and children, who make up 55% of the displaced population, are most critically affected. Many men have been killed, detained, or are otherwise unaccounted for. Sexual and gender-based violence is frequent, as vulnerable populations adopt negative coping strategies like transactional sex and the sale and use of illicit drugs.
See map above for suicide attacks and attempts in northeast Nigeria.
Food security, food production, nutrition, and livelihoods have been enormously compromised by the conflict. Displaced populations and host communities in the northeast face particularly severe food insecurity resulting from poor production and loss of livelihoods. A marked increase in the food insecure population has been noted in addition to a loss of livelihoods.
The Crisis Overview 2016: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2017, outlines the countries where needs are greatest, and growing, as we approach the end of 2016.
Based on our weekly Global Emergency Overview (GEO), and four years of data on humanitarian needs across 150 countries, we have identified ten countries where humanitarian needs are likely to be highest in 2017, as well as four that merit attention, as they face a potential spike in needs. We also consider the humanitarian situation in the northern triangle region of Latin America, where the wide-ranging humanitarian impact of pervasive gang violence is chronically underreported.
Over five years of conflict in northeast Nigeria has resulted in critical levels of malnutrition and food insecurity. The military offensive in 2016 has resulted in the recapture of many urban areas and increased humanitarian access. While the government of Nigeria and humanitarian community are scaling up, the response remains inadequate. Driven by a lack of food and livelihoods in their places of displacement, many of the displaced are returning home to locations lacking critical infrastructure and essential services. The ongoing conflict has the potential to continue to cause further displacement and reduce food security.
There is an urgent need to ensure a coherent and robust response strategy that takes into account future developments to guide the current scale-up of operations.
The scenarios within this document are not attempts to predict the future. Rather they are a description of situations that could occur in the coming nine months, and are designed to highlight the possible impacts, and resulting humanitarian consequences, of the insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
The Crisis Overview 2015: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2016, outlines the countries considered to be in greatest humanitarian need as we approach the end of 2015.
Based on our weekly Global Emergency Overview (GEO), and three years of data on humanitarian needs across 150 countries, we have identified eleven countries where humanitarian needs are likely to be highest in 2016, as well as seven that merit attention, as they face a potential spike in needs. A final section considers the potential impact of the current El Niño event across a number of regions.
Violence by Boko Haram (BH) and counterinsurgency activities by the Nigeria Army has left devastation in Nigeria’s northeast. With 2.5 million people in need, Adamawa is the second most affected state in the conflict. An estimated 1,900,000 (approximately 337,000 households) are internally displaced across the country in almost 2,000 locations, including 152,000 people in Adamawa. While response started in Adamawa, focus has since shifted to Borno, as more LGAs have become accessible, leaving thousands of affected people in Michika, Mubi, Mahai, Gombi and other LGAs in severe need.
This crisis profile describes the humanitarian situation across Borno state, where the population is experiencing severe needs across all sectors.
- Borno state in northeast Nigeria has been worst affected by the Boko Haram insurgency and military counterinsurgency.
- Borno state hosts almost two million IDPs and returnees, with the majority of displaced living in host communities with severely depleted resources.
- Although access has improved over the course of 2016, access constraints are high and large parts of Borno remain inaccessible to humanitarian actors.
- Food insecurity and critical malnutrition rates are the priority concerns.
Over 14 million people are affected by conflict in northeast Nigeria and more than 10 million people are in need. A growing number of people are in urgent need of food assistance, with some of the worst affected areas possibly in Famine (IPC Phase 5). Alarming rates of acute malnutrition are emerging in Borno and Yobe and deaths as a result of SAM have been reported.
Borno state is most affected: 4.5 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance, and 4.1 million are food insecure. In Yobe and northern Adamawa, pockets of insecurity persist: 3.2 million people estimated to be in need in Yobe, including 2.3 million food insecure. 900,000 people in Adamawa are food insecure.
Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state are most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. The northeastern states are hosting the majority of IDPs. 1.3 million IDPs are in Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, and Yobe states. The entire resident population of these states (16 million) are considered affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. Humanitarian needs are severe and access is limited, particularly in Borno state.
Suicide attacks and attempts in northeast Nigeria between September 2016 and January 2017
The Nigerian government has recently engaged in military operations in areas previously held by Boko Haram (BH). As a result, some parts within ten Local Government Areas (LGAs), namely Bama, Damboa, Dikwa, Gwoza, Konduga, Kukawa, Magumeri, Monguno, Ngala and Shani, have become more accessible as of mid-December 2016.
At least 279,758 IDPs out of the 579,000 present in these areas are now reachable. This newly gained accessibility is revealing the dire needs of people who had been cut off from all essential services for almost two years. High malnutrition rates and suspicion of famine levels are among the main humanitarian issues. Poor health and wash conditions exacerbate the needs of the affected population. Protection issues are also widely reported among IDPs.
However, even if access has recently improved, in most cases it is limited to the LGA headquarters. At least six LGAs remain completely inaccessible in northern and central Borno, leaving between 400,000-800,000 people cut off from humanitarian aid.
Critical levels of malnutrition and food insecurity persist in Nigeria’s Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. 4.5 million people are severely food insecure, and at least 65,000 people are experiencing Famine (IPC Phase 5). Health is emerging as a major need, as most health centres across Borno are either only partially functional or not functional at all and cases of communicable diseases are being reported, including polio, measles, and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD). The humanitarian situation is thought to be worse in northern Borno, which is still inaccessible.
Newly accessible areas of Borno and Yobe states and areas with active military operations face severely limited access to food. Levels of malnutrition are critical and populations face a substantially increased risk of mortality. The crude mortality rate (CMR) has surpassed the threshold of 2/10,000/day – used when classifying Famine (IPC Phase 5) – in several areas since June 2016.
Newly accessible areas of Borno and Yobe states are revealing extremely high rates of severe acute malnutrition, especially among 275,000 IDPs reported to live in 15 camps in Borno state. Information from recent rapid assessments, although limited, raises the possibility of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in the worst affected and least accessible areas of Borno. The Minister of Health has declared a nutrition emergency in Borno state. 613,000 children have been reported with SAM.
Poor quality and lack of food, inadequate WASH, as well as the insurgency, are among the main causes. Most affected areas are those adjacent to Sambisa Forest and those in northern Borno. Although only limited information is available, there are concerns that conditions among other IDP populations in the area could be similarly dire. The crude mortality rate (CMR) may have surpassed 2/10,000/day in June.
A suspected outbreak of Lassa viral hemorrhagic fever was announced in Nigeria on 8 January. The Lassa virus is carried by the multimammate rat. It is transmitted to humans through physical contact with objects; eating contaminated food; or infected bodily fluid. On 14 January, official records states at least 140 suspected cases and 30 confirmed cases, including 53 deaths, in 14 states indicating a case fatality rate (CFR) of 37.9%. As of 20 January, local media has reported as many as 212 suspected cases and 63 deaths in 17 states.
Over July, Cameroon has repatriated an estimated 3,500 undocumented Nigerian asylum seekers towards Adamawa state. Another 12,000 are stranded at the Nigeria/Cameroon border in Adamawa state. They can be expected to be repatriated throughout August and are in urgent need of further assistance. Cameroon’s decision follows a series of Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon; Cameroonian authorities claim the militants have entered the country disguised as refugees. Significant shelter and WASH needs have been reported for returnees in Adamawa and Borno states. The current level of response is reportedly not covering basic needs and should be scaled up ahead of the expected additional arrivals.