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Boko Haram: Humanitarian disaster looms over Monguno–MSF

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Mukaila Ola 

The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Thursday said a catastrophe is on the verge of happening in Monguno, Borno State, Nigeria.

MSF, otherwise called Doctors Without Border decried that over 30,000 people are presently in acute need in the area, which communities nearby were attacked by Boko Haram insurgency in December, leaving many displaced.

 A statement by MSF said: “With the rainy season on its way, shelter, water, sanitation, food, protection and medical care must be scaled up urgently to avoid a catastrophe.”

The statement said: “Over 30,000 people who were forced to flee to the town of Monguno following renewed clashes that erupted in Nigeria’s Borno state in late December are in acute need of shelter, water, sanitation, food, protection, medical care and mental health support, warns international humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF).”

The statement added the people’s immediate humanitarian needs are not being adequately addressed, and there is an urgent need for better coordination between the Nigerian government, United Nations  and non-governmental organisations in scaling up the aid response in Monguno so as to avoid a catastrophic situation with the onset of the rainy season, expected in May.

 It lamented that for the last ten years, people in Borno state have been caught up in a cycle of violence, displacement, and insecurity. People’s health are at risk due to the dire living conditions. The latest clashes have yet again forced tens of thousands from their homes, fields and livelihoods, and left them struggling to survive.

The statement quoted MSF humanitarian affairs officer, Musa Baba as saying people who recently arrived in Monguno fled their homelands leaving everything behind,” regretting that: “They come from areas where they could farm. Now, they are sleeping on the streets or wherever they can find space, hungry, thirsty and exposed to very high temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night.” 

MSF said: “A major problem in Monguno is the lack of land to build shelters for new arrivals. Thousands of recently displaced people have no space to settle and are living and sleeping in the middle of the town’s streets for weeks, even months. MSF, along with some other humanitarian organisations, have built shelters in different camps and have capacity to accommodate more displaced people. MSF teams have set up 100 tents and are ready to put up 700 additional shelters.

 Musa was also quoted to have said: “The current situation, with very vulnerable people – women, children and the elderly – living out of doors, rather than in a camp or with the host community, increases the risk of abuses and the need for protection.”

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