- Published on Monday, 08 August 2016 10:52
August 2016. To respond to the urgency of the nutritional crisis which is affecting with full force north-eastern Nigeria, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams are currently intervening in Monguno, Borno State.
As a witness of the extreme precariousness of collateral victims of a crisis affecting Nigeria today but does not make the news, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has decided to act without support from institutional donors, deploying its teams thanks to its donators’ generosity, and to answer to the very urgent severe malnutrition which is touching thousands of children.
An unknown crisis
Located some 80 kilometres from State capital Maiduguri, , the city of Monguno is starving. Isolated from the world during many months and locked up in its walls behind the relative safety of fortifications, it was captured by the rebels and recovered in February 2015 by the Nigerian army. Today, Monguno welcomes 150 to 200,000 inhabitants, half of whom are displaced people (IDPs). On 3 roads which connect it to the neighbouring cities, only the road to Maiduguri is practicable, because it is protected by 6 checkpoints, though they don’t necessarily stop rebel ambushes, such as one ambush which targeted Unicef and Doctors Without Borders on Thursday 28 July.
Many months and years of insecurity on the roads and a fuel embargo to prevent its sale to armed groups on the black market have transformed IDPs into a dense crowd gathered in makeshift camps on sites that were previously schools.
Vulnerable families affected by starvation
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams support local healthcare structures, which care for malnourished children brought by their mothers in a continuous flood in the only functional maternity ward of the city. The rehabilitation and the construction of wells and toilets should contribute to the fight against the lack of access to drinking water and hygiene. These unknown factors are worsening malnutrition for these vulnerable families touched by starvation. In the same way as the lack of food, drinking unsanitary water accelerates weight loss, causing waterborne diseases for the most vulnerable people.
Our teams are renovating boreholes, building toilets, promoting hygiene and making medical referrals of severe acute malnutrition in the most important displacement camp of the city, where the population is estimated at 30,000 people.
Sounding the alarm is our duty
However, the actions of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL remain insufficient to cover all basic needs of IDPs who, for the majority, don’t have any access to shelters, or only straw huts, and healthcare services because all the hospitals are closing one by one because of a lack of food supplies and drinking water in sufficient quantity, education for children, safety and dignity.
Few emergency organisations became aware of the gravity of the situation in Monguno, where the precariousness could increase if the humanitarian community does not act massively. The rainy season is beginning and brings with it flooding, muddy roads, malaria vectors. Furthermore, cholera could spread because it is already endemic in this part of Nigeria.
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Photo credits : © Thomas Gruel / SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL
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