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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Médecins Sans Frontières
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    The already fragile condition of the population in Diffa has recently been aggravated by the escalation of the on-going armed conflict in southern Niger. The area bordering north Nigeria is facing new waves of displaced people and refugees escaping the violence raging around Lake Chad, especially since last February when the conflict spread to Niger. Living conditions are critical, with the displaced population having little access to healthcare and safe water.

    The vast majority of people seeking refuge in Diffa are settled in spontaneous settlements or with host families. However, the increasing number of displaced people and is causing the initial solidarity displayed by the already precarious host communities to falter. Around 17,000 people are currently established in two spontaneous displaced camps, in Bosso and Nguigmi districts, after the evacuation of Lake Chad in late April. There are very few humanitarian actors working in the area.

    “Many of the people we are assisting have had traumatic experiences which have forced them to leave their homes,” explains Elmounzer Ag Jiddou, MSF head of mission in Niger. “However, in Diffa they are going through a very difficult situation as their basic needs are not covered. Moreover, they are also afraid of being attacked again.”

    The rainy season and the hunger gap are just around the corner

    In the coming weeks, Diffa will face the usual hunger gap when the number of children affected by severe acute malnutrition increases. The situation this year is especially critical because the violence is affecting normal trade in the area and many fields have not been planted.

    Furthermore, the imminent arrival of the rainy season will bring with it a growing number of malaria cases which, in combination with increased malnutrition, makes for a particularly lethal cocktail, especially in young children. Also, the combination of heavy rainfall and the already poor sanitation conditions in the displacement camps has the potential to further deteriorate the health situation of a population already weakened by the ongoing crisis in the Lake Chad basin area, where cholera is endemic.

    “The rains also make access more difficult, further hindering the arrival of humanitarian aid,” says Luis Encinas, MSF’s programme manager for Niger. “Right now, there are very few organisations in the area despite the great needs, and we are very concerned that the situation may further deteriorate in the coming months. In response, we have started to diversify activities, building latrines and supplying water as these aspects have become priorities and are still not getting the level of response they should be.”

    MSF increases its operations in Diffa to address the growing needs of the population

    To improve healthcare for the local and displaced population, MSF is working alongside the Ministry of Health in the main maternal and paediatric health centre in the city of Diffa, and in six health centres in the districts of Diffa, Nguigmi and Bosso. To address the increase in malaria cases in the coming months, MSF will start distributing 25,000 insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets throughout the region.

    The organisation is also working with mobile clinics in both camps in Nguigmi and Bosso, where its teams have attended to more than 2,500 people, providing them with medical care during the month of June. In the Yebi camp in Bosso, MSF is also carrying out water and sanitation activities to guarantee that each person has access to 20 litres per day, the minimum quantity recommended in an emergency situation.

    MSF in Diffa

    MSF started working in Diffa in December 2014 in response to a cholera outbreak, and treated a total of 271 patients. From January 2015, the organisation started supporting the health centres of Ngarwa and Gueskerou (in Diffa district) and Nguigmi (in Nguigmi district). After the Boko Haram attack in Diffa on 6 February, MSF scaled up its operations supporting the main maternal and paediatric health centre in Diffa town. At the beginning of May, MSF again increased its activities to assist the displaced population who had left Lake Chad and were living in harsh conditions in camps for displaced people.

    Since the beginning of July, MSF has been supporting three additional health centres in Baroua, Toumour (in Bosso district) and Ngalewa (in Nguigmi district).

    MSF has carried out more than 15,000 medical consultations, since the beginning of its intervention in Diffa, including more than 12,000 for children under 5 years old; and more than 450 patients have been admitted to the maternal and paediatric health centre in Diffa.

    There are currently 122 MSF staff working in the country; 111 national staff and 11 international staff.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Mali


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Between June and August, around 7.5 million people will face food crisis in Sahel and West Africa

    • Late start of rainy season in parts of Sahel and West Africa

    • Insecurity persists in CAR although violence has abated

    • Election date set in CAR

    • Ebola re-emerges in Liberia


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    Depuis la déclaration de l’état d’urgence dans les Etats au nord du Nigéria (Adamawa, Borno et Yobe) en mai 2013, le Niger fait face à des défis humanitaires sans précédent dans la région de Diffa qui accueille des milliers de réfugiés nigérians, de nigériens retournés et de ressortissants de pays tiers. En outre, les attaques des groupes armés sur le territoire nigérien en février et juin 2015 ont entrainé des déplacements internes de populations. La plupart des personnes ayant fui l’insécurité au Nigéria et des personnes déplacées internes se trouvent dans une situation de vulnérabilité qui aggrave celle des communautés hôtes. Les principaux défis humanitaires de la région incluent l’insécurité alimentaire, la malnutrition, l’accès limité aux services sociaux de base et la protection


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Mali, Niger, Nigeria


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, REACH Initiative
    Country: Niger


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    CHAD

    16 KILLED IN SUICIDE BLAST

    On 11 July, at least 16 people were killed and dozens others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of N’Djamena’s central market.
    The attack was the third of its kind in the capital city in less than a month. Dozens were also killed when attackers struck N’Djamena on 15 and 29 June. Separately, several attacks have been reported in recent days in the southern Lac Region in which around 30 people have died.

    CAMEROON

    11 KILLED IN TWIN SUICIDE ATTACKS

    On 12 July, 11 people were killed in two suicide bombings in Fotokol, a town in Cameroon’s Far North Region near the border with Nigeria when two burqa-clad assailants detonated suicide belts - one in a public space where people often gather to break the Ramadan fast and the other outside a military camp. The suicide blasts were the first of their kind in Cameroon, which has been repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram militants. Two days before the bombings, the town had come under rocket attack that killed one person.

    LIBERIA

    SECOND EBOLA DEATH REPORTED

    A second Ebola patient died on 12 July on arrival at an Ebola treatment centre in the capital Monrovia. The first EVD death in seven weeks since Liberia was declared Ebola-free occurred on 28 June. A total of six confirmed cases, including the two deaths have so far been reported. The source of transmission for the current outbreak is still under investigation.

    NIGERIA

    SLIGHT DROP IN IDP NUMBERS

    As of June 2015, there were 1,385,298 IDPs in Nigeria’s north-eastern states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe, according to the June update of the Displacement Tracking Matrix by IOM and Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency. The figure marks a slight decrease compared to the last update in April when some 1.5 million IDPs were identified. The drop is due to movements of return observed on the ground, especially in Adamawa where the IDP population has decreased by 49 percent. In contrast, in Borno, the IDP population has increased since April and is now over a million (1,002, 688).

    EVD REGIONAL

    25 NEW CASES REPORTED

    Guinea reported a total of 13 new confirmed cases, of which seven were in Conakry, as of 13 July. Meanwhile, humanitarian actors launched a sensitisation campaign in Benty locality of Forécariah, one of Guinea’s four Ebola hotspot prefectures. In Sierra Leone, eight new cases were reported as of 12 July. An enhanced health intervention in the country’s Ebola hotspots in the northwest has been extended for 90 days to the first week of October. In the week leading up to 5 July, there were 30 confirmed cases in the three countries, marking the highest weekly total since mid-May.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    TCHAD

    16 TUÉS DANS UN ATTENTAT-SUICIDE

    Le 11 juillet, au moins 16 personnes ont été tuées et des dizaines d'autres blessées lorsqu'un kamikaze s’est fait exploser à l'entrée du marché central de N'Djamena. L'attaque est le troisième du genre dans la capitale en moins d'un mois. Des dizaines de personnes ont également été tuées lorsque des attaquants ont frappé N'Djamena les 15 et 29 juin. Séparément, plusieurs attaques ont été signalées ces derniers jours dans la région sud du Lac où environ 30 personnes sont décédées.

    CAMEROUN

    11 TUÉS DANS UN DOUBLE ATTENTAT-SUICIDE

    Le 12 juillet, 11 personnes ont été tuées dans deux attentats-suicides à Fotokol, une ville de la région de l'Extrême Nord du Cameroun, près de la frontière avec le Nigéria, où deux assaillants en burqa ont fait exploser leurs ceintures d'explosifs – l’un dans un espace public où les gens se rassemblent souvent pour rompre le jeûne du Ramadan, et l'autre à l'extérieur d'un camp militaire. Ces attentatssuicides sont les premiers du genre au Cameroun, qui a été la cible, à plusieurs reprises, des militants de Boko Haram. Deux jours avant les attentats, la ville subissait une attaque à la roquette qui a tué une personne.

    LIBERIA

    DEUXIÈME DÉCÈS DÛ AU VIRUS EBOLA

    Un deuxième patient atteint de la maladie à virus Ebola (MVE) est décédé le 12 juillet à son arrivée dans un centre de traitement Ebola dans la capitale Monrovia.
    Le premier décès MVE, sept semaines après que le Libéria a été déclaré exempt du virus, a eu lieu le 28 juin. Un total de six cas confirmés, dont les deux décès, a jusqu'ici été signalé. La source de transmission de la flambée actuelle est toujours sous investigation.

    NIGERIA

    LÉGÈRE BAISSE DU NOMBRE DE DÉPLACÉS

    En juin 2015, il y avait 1 385 298 personnes déplacées dans les États de l’Adamaoua, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba et de Yobe au nord-est du Nigéria, selon la dernière Matrice de Suivi de Déplacement de l’OIM et de l’Agence Nationale de Gestion des Urgences du Nigéria. Le chiffre marque une légère baisse par rapport à la dernière mise à jour en avril lorsque quelque 1.5 millions de personnes déplacées avaient été identifiées. La baisse est due aux mouvements de retours observés sur le terrain, en particulier dans l'Adamaoua où le nombre de déplacés a diminué de 49%. En revanche, à Borno, la population déplacée a augmenté depuis avril et est maintenant de plus d'un million (1 002 688).

    REGIONAL/ MVE

    25 NOUVEAUX CAS SIGNALÉS

    Au 13 juillet, la Guinée a rapporté un total de 13 nouveaux cas confirmés, dont sept à Conakry. Entretemps, les acteurs humanitaires ont lancé une campagne de sensibilisation dans la localité de Benty à Forécariah, une des quatre préfectures foyer d’Ebola en Guinée. En Sierra Leone, huit nouveaux cas ont été signalés en date du 12 Juillet. Une intervention sanitaire renforcée dans les foyers Ebola du nord-ouest a été prolongée de 90 jours jusqu’à la première semaine d'octobre. Au cours de la semaine précédant le 5 juillet, 30 cas ont été confirmés dans les trois pays, marquant le total hebdomadaire le plus élevé depuis la mi-mai.


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    Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda

    Climate Prediction Center’s Africa Hazards Outlook July 16 – 22, 2015

    • Moisture increases for portions of the Senegal region; dry areas farther east show little improvement.

    • Moisture deficits deepen in southeast Sudan, Eritrea and northwest Ethiopia with a continued lack of rainfall.

    1) A delayed onset of the rainy season, followed by poorly-distributed rainfall, has led to abnormal dryness across Burkina Faso, the central and northern parts of Ghana, Togo, and Benin, western and southern Niger, and northern Nigeria. The lack of rainfall has delayed planting and has already negatively affected cropping activities over many local areas.

    2) A delayed onset and general lack of rainfall has resulted in abnormal dryness across extreme western portions of Ethiopia, western Eritrea, and eastern Sudan. The most impacted states in Sudan are Gadaref, Sinar, and Blue Nile, including important agricultural regions where much planting is being delayed.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger

    • Le village nigérian d’Assaga, situé en bordure de la rivière Komadougou - 15 km à l’est de Diffa - a été attaqué dans la nuit du 27 juin par des insurgés de la secte Boko Haram.

    • L’attaque a engendré la mort de 10 personnes et le mouvement de l’ensemble de la population du village nigérian d’Assaga ainsi que des populations de sept autres villages du côté du Nigeria et d’Assaga au Niger. Un total de 6 289 personnes1 a été recensé - incluant des personnes qui s’y étaient réfugiées précédemment2, 3 771 retournés et déplacés internes et 2 517 personnes de nationalité nigériane - sur le site non loin des villages de Kangouri et de Madou Kaouri.

    • Les autorités régionales, des agences des Nations Unies et différentes ONGs ont conduit des missions d’évaluation entre le 1er et le 11 juillet pour estimer les besoins, afin d’établir un plan de réponse. Les besoins identifiés sont les vivres, l’accès à l’eau, l’hygiène, les abris et les biens non alimentaires et la protection.

    • Les besoins dans le secteur de la sécurité alimentaire, estimés à près de 95 tonnes pour les céréales, sont partiellement couverts grâce à l’assistance du Gouvernement constituée de 60 tonnes de mil et 30 tonnes de riz pour un mois. Le gap correspondant y compris la prise en charge des légumineuses sera couvert par l’ONG Help et le PAM.

    • Au plan sanitaire, un site de soins est dressé par le district sanitaire et la Direction Régionale de la santé (DRSP) appuyée par l’ONG Save the Children. L’OMS a aussi mis un tiers de kit de santé d’urgence inter-agence à la disposition des autorités sanitaires pour combler les besoins en médicaments. Les principales activités sur ce site incluent le dépistage de la malnutrition et la prise en charge systématique des cas avec un appui en intrants thérapeutiques de l’UNICEF, un système de référencement et la sensibilisation sur les bonnes pratiques en matière de santé, d’hygiène et d’assainissement. L’UNFPA, avec l’aide de son partenaire l’ONG Akarass et à travers la DRSP, va conduire des activités visant à améliorer la santé de la reproduction des populations du site.

    • Un poste autonome d’alimentation en eau est en cours de réalisation par la Direction Régionale de l’hydraulique (DRH) de même que le projet de réalisation de trois forages par le CICR. Dans l’attente de la finalisation de ces ouvrages, l’approvisionnement en eau du site se fait actuellement par le biais d’un camion-citerne.

    • Concernant les abris et les biens non alimentaires (BNA), le HCR, à travers son partenaire la Croix-Rouge Luxembourgeoise, a commencé à distribuer des kits abris et cela devrait se poursuivre. Au 13 juillet, 116 kits ont été déjà installés. L’UNICEF, l’OIM et l’IRC, prévoient d’apporter des tentes et des biens non alimentaires complémentaires pour les familles.

    • Pour la protection, les autorités ont fait le recensement à Assaga et le HCR a contribué à la saisie des statistiques. L’UNICEF a mis trois travailleurs sociaux à la disposition de la Direction Régionale de la protection de l’enfance. L’ONG IRC envisage la sensibilisation des communautés sur la protection de l’enfant, les droits des enfants et sur les notions sur les violences basées sur le genre. L’IRC planifie prendre en charge des personne à besoins spécifiques et les référer vers les services disponibles dans la localité.

    • Au regard de la situation initiale et à moins de nouveaux afflux, la couverture des besoins semble satisfaisante. Toutefois, la situation des latrines et douches mérite une attention particulière en dépit du positionnement de l’IRC qui prévoit la construction de 50 latrines et de l’intervention possible de MSF-Suisse.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Kano, Nigeria | AFP | Wednesday 7/15/2015 - 15:53 GMT

    At least 30 people were killed in three attacks by Islamists in northeastern Nigeria, local officials and inhabitants said Wednesday.

    The three assaults were carried out simultaneously Tuesday. In the deadliest, over 20 were killed outside Ngamdu, a local legislator, Mohammed Sando, told AFP.

    "Boko Haram gunmen... yesterday set up a barricade on the Damaturu-Maidiguri highway just outside Ngamdu, and attacked motorists. They killed over 20," Sando said.

    "They then moved to Ngamdu and began to set houses on fire. Last week they burnt almost half the vilage in a similar raid," he added.

    Haruna Kabil, a bus driver, said a large number of people from Ngamdu fled their homes after the attacks.

    "Some houses in Ngamdu were smouldering when I passed this morning. I learned from some passengers I took from Ngamdu that Boko Haram invaded the village in the evening and began burning homes after attacking motorists on the highway. They said that many people were killed on the highway, by the attackers," Kabil told AFP.

    Near Baga, which is located northeast of Ngamdu, Boko Haram attacked residents who had decided to return home from Maiduguri, where they had been living in forced displacement since January.

    "Yesterday, they chartered a lorry to (take) them to Baga. On reaching Garin-Giwa, which is just four kilometres (2.5 miles) from Baga, they were ambushed by Boko Haram gunmen who opened fire on the vehicle, forcing dozens of men inside to flee into the bush," said Abubakar Gamandi, head of the fishermen's union in Borno state.

    "The gunmen however apprehended eight of the passengers and shot them in the head," he added.

    In Damasak, Boko Haram assailants set fire to the town and "opened fire on everyone they saw," said local resident Buba Ari.

    "We are now going through the burnt area looking for bodies. So far we have covered five."

    The attacks underlined the threat still posed by the Islamists, despite the authorities' pledges to crush Boko Haram's insurgency and with a new regional force set to deploy at the end of the month.

    abu-ser/ri

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger

    Depuis l’âge de 7 ans, Fidée Chéou agée de 60 ans maintenant, fabrique des galettes de sel. « Le travail dans la saline [lieu de production du sel] est la principale activité qui me permet de gagner de l’argent pour subvenir aux besoins de mes dix enfants », dit Fidée. Les galettes de sel sont des pierres à lécher multi-nutritionnelles pour le bétail.

    Lire l'article sur OCHA


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    Source: UN Population Fund
    Country: Mauritania

    Journée Mondiale de la Population 2015.

    Mettre les médicaments essentiels et de qualité à la portée des populations en particulier les plus vulnérables sur toute l'étendue du territoire national c'est le pari que la Centrale d’Achat des Médicaments, Equipements et Consommables Médicaux (CAMEC ) et entrain de gagner avec le soutient du Fonds des Nations Unies pour la Population (UNFPA).

    Une Nouvelle agence réhabilitée avec le soutien financier de l'UNFPA et fournie en médicaments essentiels et produits de la santé de la reproduction a été inaugurée le Mardi 14 juillet 2015 dans la ville de Rosso Capitale de la Wilaya du Trarza.

    Cette nouvelle agence vient s'ajouter à 5 autres déjà réhabilitées et dotées en médicaments essentiels y compris les produits de la santé de la reproduction au niveau de de 5 régions du pays (Gorgol,Guidimagha,Adrar,Assaba et Tagant)

    Autorités, populations et UNFPA se sont réjouies de ces réalisations concrètes qui améliorent le bien être et la santé des populations en particulier les plus vulnérables .


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Mali

    Korka, in the second grade at Bankass school in Kani Kombole, and Amadou, in the sixth grade in Bandiagara school in Bendiely might live far apart - but they both have one thing in common: WFP school meals have helped to get them into the classroom and keep them there.

    Korka, who lives with her grandmother, is the first one in her family to attend school. Her father, who passed away when Korka was young, had a last wish that his daughter would be able to graduate from their local school.

    Amadou began attending school a little bit late for his age. Though sending Amadou to school was important to his family, Amadou's help was also needed working in the family fields. Eventually, the school director convinced Amadou's father to send him to class, after explaining the multiple advantages of an education - and the benefits of the school meal programme for Amadou and his family.

    Before beginning school himself in 2009, Amadou visited with his friend, Aly - and got to try what he called the "delight" of school meals.The memory stuck, and Amadou said that was when he decided that he really did want to go to class with his peers.

    "All my friends went to school except me!"

    Korka and Amadou's families are both very poor: Korka's grandmother, Hawa, lives off of a modest income from braiding women's hair in the community, barely earning enough to support her family of six. Hawa said that the school meals programme has helped her to feed her family, and to ensure that she can keep sending Korka to class.

    "Now that Korka eats every day at school, I can worry less. Without the canteen, it would be hard for us to have her stay at school. We have little land, little food, and we spend our time working in the fields. The meals at our house are only at night."

    For Amadou, the situation is also precarious, because in his area, only 10 percent of the land is suitable for planting, making consistent food access difficult. When there isn't enough food at home, school meals let him get all of the nutrients that he needs. "After each meal I feel stronger!"

    Korka is enthusiastic, remembers her lessons quickly, and her teachers are mentoring her to make sure she does well in her classes. Going to school has become her passion. Korka confided that she wants to learn to be a nurse.

    School meals have drawn many students to Kani-Kombole's school, Bankass. In October 2014, the school registered 42 new students. and every year at the beginning of the school meals programme, more students are registered.

    In Bendiely, Bandiagara school also recorded significant progress - between 2013 and 2015, the school has grown by 36 percent, and no students have dropped out.

    In the last quarter of the school year, WFP conducted its food deliveries for the upcoming quarter, and food preparation began. Students enjoy a breakfast consisting of millet, beans, oil, and salt. Management committees, run by the community, contribute vegetables and other ingredients - like pepper, chili, spices, baobab leaves, okra, onions, tomatoes, and peanuts - to name a few.

    These areas of Mali have experienced high levels of food insecurity due to drought, and the school meals are an important incentive to keep children in school.

    Moussa, a member of the parents' committee in Bendiely, said that "Here, without the canteen, there’s really no school. We thank WFP, and we are counting on it."

    School meal programmes act as a magnet to bring children to school, and provide them with the nourishment that they need to keep working hard. Community ownership of the programmes are key for making them sustainable for years to come. Parents, community members, and the international community alike must work together to ensure that communities can take an active role in their school feeding programme and ensure its sustainability.

    In Mali, WFP is aiming to reach over 225,000 vulnerable children with its school feeding programme in 2015.

    Photos/text: WFP/Youssouf Barry


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Mali, Niger


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    Source: INGO Forum in Nigeria
    Country: Nigeria

    Overview

    In the past 18 months, conflict in Northern Nigeria involving Boko Haram has caused an alreadydire situation to deteriorate into a major humanitarian crisis. At least 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been uprooted by the Boko Haram conflict and over 4 million people in the affected region are facing acute levels of hunger.

    Ninety percent of displaced households are living in informal settlements or in host communities, yet hosts have received little-to-no support from government entities or the international community. Since the elections in March and April 2015, the number of attacks by Boko Haram has increased, with a spike in the number and range of attacks on civilians, and returns are not happening on any significant scale. The majority of conflict affected persons (at least 2.3 million men, women, and children according to OCHA) remain unassisted and in critical need of assistance.

    Operational humanitarian organizations are failing to meet needs and new agencies are unable to start operations because of chronic underfunding by donors. Levels of financial support to the crisis are well below adequate, and are a small fraction of the resources being channelled to similar scale crises elsewhere in Africa and in the Middle East.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Kano, Nigeria | AFP | Thursday 7/16/2015 - 21:51 GMT

    by Aminu ABUBAKAR

    At least 49 people were killed and dozens injured when twin blasts struck a market in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe on Thursday, rescue workers said.

    The first explosion took place outside a packed footwear shop around 1620 GMT, followed by a second explosion just minutes later, said Badamasi Amin, a local trader who counted at least three bodies.

    He said the area at the time was crowded with customers doing some last-minute shopping on the eve of the Eid festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

    "I was about 70 metres (yards) from the scene" when the first blast hit, Amin told AFP.

    "I and many other people rushed to assist the victims. While we were trying to attend to the wounded, another blast happened outside a china shop just opposite the footwear shop," he said, adding that he himself was "drenched in blood" from moving dead bodies.

    Ali Nasiru, another trader, said he saw "people lying lifeless on the ground".

    "Traders and shoppers helped in evacuating the victims to the hospital," he said.

    "In all, we have 49 dead and 71 injured," a top rescue official told AFP, asking not to be named.

    He warned that the toll could climb further as some of the wounded "are in a critical condition".

    "The victims include many women and children," he said.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts but a market, bus station and stadium in the city of Gombe, the capital of Gombe state, have all in recent months been targeted by bomb and suicide attacks.

    In February, Boko Haram Islamists claimed responsibility for an attack on Gombe during which hundreds of insurgents, armed with heavy weapons, invaded the city for a few hours.

    Gombe state neighbours the states of Borno, Yobo and Adamawa, which have been most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency that has killed more than 15,000 people in Nigeria since 2009.

    There has been a spike in attacks by Boko Haram after a four-nation coalition of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon pushed out the militants from captured territory earlier this year.

    The violence has intensified since Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took power one and a half months ago and vowed to crush the group, something his predecessor had also made a priority but failed to do.

    Buhari, in an Eid message, pledged to press on with efforts to quash the militants.

    "I was very aware of your high expectations when I assumed office and I reassure you, my fellow citizens, that since my inauguration... I have been working with utmost dedication to meticulously plan and tackle the many national challenges which we identified and promised to resolve," he said.

    "To succeed however, I need your continued support, understanding and patience."

    Buhari, a former military man, this week sacked his entire defence top brass in the wake of criticism over the military command's poor handling of the six-year Boko Haram insurgency.

    abu-cdc/mfp/st

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger, Nigeria


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