NIGERIA EMERGENCY: Safe water to prevent a health disaster

Published on Tuesday 2 August 2016

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Nigeria Emergency “Safe water to prevent a health disaster”

Let’s save lives now, not tomorrow

Maiduguri, Borno State, 2 August 2016

Solidarités International is launching a call to the public’s generosity today to help prevent a sanitary disaster in Nigeria.


In Borno State, severe malnutrition rates are close to or over 15% of children under 5. In Western Africa, one malnutrition case in two is caused by an unhealthy sanitation environment. Multiplying water points in Maiduguri and its surroundings is an absolute emergency. If a cholera epidemic should add up to the malnutrition, this already disastrous situation for millions of displaced persons would become a slaughter,” according to Thierry Benlahsen, Emergency Manager for Solidarités International.

Access to safe water is insufficient, the presence of malnutrition and the threat of cholera… In this north-eastern part of the country that has long been inaccessible and where 2 million people are displaced, Solidarités International is launching vital emergency relief in the cities of Maiduguri and Monguno, close to the front line with Boko Haram.

Safe water to fight malnutrition…

In the city of Maiduguri, now the home to 1.5 million displaced people fleeing combat zones, malnutrition rates have skyrocketed, leaving tens of thousands of children under the age of 5 in mortal danger. In partnership with local healthcare structures, Solidarités International is fighting malnutrition. Half the global cases are caused by an unsanitary environment, according to the World Health Organisation.

“Not only will our teams provide malnutrition health centres with access to water and sanitation, they will also rehabilitate the many destroyed boreholes and build toilets in overpopulated vulnerable areas in Maiduguri, says Thierry Benlahsen. Moreover, it is urgent to improve the number of meals that vulnerable families can enjoy every day. We are therefore going to support financially the homes affected by the ongoing malnutrition.”

… and prevent a devastating cholera epidemic

In a State that is hit every year by several cholera outbreaks, several hundreds of cases have been reported. “As access to healthcare is totally insufficient, building more water points is an absolute emergency. If a cholera epidemic should add up to the malnutrition, this already disastrous situation for millions of displaced persons would become a slaughter,” Thierry Benlahsen adds.

The rehabilitation of well must be made quickly because of the high exposure of water sources, especially in the surroundings of northern cities, such as Monguno. “People who queue for hours, waiting for their turn to collect water have already been targeted by Boko Haram. Our actions aim at decreasing that exposure,” Thierry Benlahsen adds.

Safe water being at the root of all humanitarian action, Solidarités International is now launching a call for donations from the general public to fund its actions in Nigeria. The health of millions of people is at stake. Not tomorrow. Now.

To make a donation, go to Solidarités International’s website: www.solidarites.org

Press contact

Paul Duke, Communication Officer: pduke@solidarites.org
Tel.: (+33) 01 76 21 87 12 – Mob.: (+33) 07 60 32 47 04


In Paris : Thierry Benlahsen, Emergency Manager
In Maiduguri : Philippe Bonnet, Head of Mission


All photos to be credited to © Thomas Gruel / Solidarités International

2016 NIG Ouverture Thomas-Gruel 2