Nearly 2.5 million face starvation in Nigeria

Nigeria, August 8, 2016

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  • These two girls are living in a compound for internally displaced people, many of whom are fleeing the violent insurgent group, Boko Haram. Photo: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps
    Photo: These two girls are living in a compound for internally displaced people, many of whom are fleeing the violent insurgent group, Boko Haram. Photo: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps

An estimated 2.5 million people are at risk for starvation in areas of northeast Nigeria that were previously under Boko Haram control.

In total, 7 million people in northeast Nigeria need humanitarian help in what a United Nations official is calling the “worst humanitarian crisis in 20 years.”

“This grave, overlooked humanitarian crisis is unfolding on our watch,” says Iveta Ouvry, Mercy Corps’ country director in Nigeria. “The world cannot sit by while innocent civilians who have survived unspeakable violence face acute hunger and the possibility of death.”

Boko Haram’s cycle of violence has uprooted and displaced at least 2.3 million people near the already fragile and drought-afflicted Lake Chad water basin.

But until recently, humanitarian organizations like Mercy Corps have struggled to access this particular area of northeast Nigeria. Our work has focused primarily on providing help to those living in and around Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Learn how we are helping women widowed by Boko Haram.

However, recent assessments, including those by Mercy Corps, show that an estimated 800,000 people are living in burned villages and unstructured camps in 15 different locations across Borno. They are malnourished, have little to no food or assistance and no means to earn a living.

We are working swiftly to respond to the crisis in Damboa and Sabon Gari, two of the heavily impacted and most vulnerable communities.

“In these two locations alone, we identified more than 100,000 people who are in immediate need of food and other help,” says Michael Muazu, a Mercy Corps humanitarian projects manager who conducted the assessment. “Women are especially vulnerable because many have little to no ability to move safely outside the camps or conduct normal daily activities such as preparing food and bathing.”

Mercy Corps plans to distribute food and other lifesaving items, help improve hygiene and provide protection for vulnerable civilians, particularly women and children.

How you can help

Mercy Corps has been working in Nigeria since 2012 both to address urgent humanitarian needs and implement long-term solutions with a particular focus on empowering adolescent girls, teaching conflict-mitigation skills and connecting people to financial services.

Your gift today helps individuals and communities in Nigeria and around the world overcome crisis for good.