“The world should not forget the victims of this deadly conflict, especially as there appears to be little hope for a return to peace and stability in the near future,” the Deputy High Commissioner stated.
She explained that Nigerian refugees continued to arrive in very remote, impoverished communities in neighbouring countries, noting that since it started in 2013, the Boko Haram conflict has internally displaced another 2.4 million people in north-east Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Clement said UNHCR called the menacing threat of food insecurity and severe malnutrition “one of the most devastating side effects of the conflict.” adding that in September 2017, more than 7.2 million people in the Lake Chad Basin, which spans seven countries, including most of Chad and a large part of Niger, faced food insecurity.
The UN stated further that, across the vast region, food insecurity and malnutrition have reached critical levels, a situation only made worse over the eight years of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“The future of young generations in the region is at stake, as food insecurity not only affects the dignity of families, but has serious consequences on the physical and cognitive development of children,” Ms. Clements stressed.
She spoke further stating that in a region where education levels were already among the lowest in the world, the conflict has had a devastating impact, regretting that the situation had forced hundreds of schools to close, making education inaccessible and causing school attendance rates to drop.
“Refugee-hosting communities are also in dire need of assistance, as their capacity, including basic services infrastructure, is stretched to the limit,” she stressed.
Clements said humanitarian aid was needed to uplift services, including shelter, health, education, and water and sanitation sectors, recalling that in 2017, $241 million appeal was only 56 per cent funded.