Neglected humanitarian crisis

  • Violence, malnutrition and disease have added up to a severe humanitarian crisis in northwest Nigeria.
  • A lack of engagement from humanitarian groups and donors, and formal UN recognition of the crisis, are delaying an adequate response.
  • MSF urges calls upon the humanitarian community and Nigerian government to immediately respond to the crisis in the northwest Nigeria.

ABUJA – The level of humanitarian support available to respond to people’s critical needs in northern Nigeria is in dramatic decline. In the northwest, a humanitarian crisis persists, with catastrophic levels of malnutrition and recurrent outbreaks of preventable diseases, says Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Yet, the situation is largely being ignored by donors and aid organisations.

Over recent years, more than 600,000 people have been displaced from their homes in northwest Nigeria as a result of extreme violence, deteriorating economic conditions, and climate change. Despite encouraging signs of mobilisation from humanitarian groups and donors in 2023, MSF says that the funding and aid currently available are vastly insufficient for people’s growing humanitarian needs.

While both northeast and northwest regions remain affected by high levels of malnutrition and preventable diseases, the non-inclusion of the latter in all previous Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) is alarming.

“We have repeatedly expressed our concerns to the UN and donors about the alarming and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the northwest,” says Ahmed Bilal, MSF head of mission. “The lack of recognition of the crisis is having a severe impact on the health and humanitarian needs of people, and is delaying the response, which is desperately needed.”

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