Nigeria has made significant progress in addressing the humanitarian crisis occasioned by the insurgency in the North-East but there remains much room for improvement.
This is the summation of the recent Humanitarian Situation Update issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The report noted that through improved coordination of logistics and civil-military collaboration, humanitarian teams can now access some areas that were previously inaccessible.
“Humanitarians have also noticed encouraging signs that the food and nutrition situation in some areas was stabilizing, especially with the support from donors, food and nutrition emergency aid that significantly scaled up since late 2016,’’ the report said.
However, in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, three local governments remained completely inaccessible, with 26 partly accessible, and 37 fully accessible. It added that all the inaccessible and most of the partially accessible local government areas are in Borno State.
To offset the impediment posed by unusable and insecure roads, air assets have been deployed to facilitate the transportation of humanitarian personnel while cargo is transported by road with armed escorts as a last resort.
It is expected that with the end of the rainy season, the accessibility of most parts of the affected area could improve.
The report also highlighted insecurity, the presence of mines, improvised explosive devices, and unexploded ordinances as factors hampering the response of humanitarian agencies in the BAY states.
UNOCHA observed that the failure of donors worldwide to fully meet their financial commitment towards the North-east has drastically slowed down interventions. “As the response enters the final quarter of the year, additional funding is needed to meet the targets laid out in the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan,”
The report said; “Certain sectors that are key in kick-starting the transition into the recovery phase, such as Health, Education and Response and Recovery Planning have continued to be dramatically under-funded with 21, 12 and 5 per cent of the required funding received as of 30 September.”
It also noted that “the progress toward key indicators is on track except for the management of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) with medical complications, which remain hampered by the unavailability of services especially in the newly accessible areas. Lack of access to most areas has been the impediment in providing life-saving nutrition support to those in need.
Nutrition activities are limited to few areas where humanitarian actors have access and where healthcare structures are in place.” According to the report, about $6.5 million is required to execute five projects and facilitate the operation of the nutrition support services in the affected communities.
Despite the onerous challenges, there is a significant basis for the consolidation and improvement of humanitarian efforts in the region.
Almost two million people are currently receiving in-kind or cash-based food assistance every month while “nutrition partners have reached nearly 500,000 children, pregnant and lactating women this year through supplementary feeding programmes.
For 2017/2018, the strategic focus of humanitarian partners is on integrated and coordinated life-saving assistance, strengthened protection of civilians, enhanced humanitarian access, and durable solutions.” These intervention programmes will enjoy greater emphasis especially with the expected influx of an increased number of returnees to their liberated home communities after the period of displacement.