17M people in Lake Chad region need aid: UN

Civilians suffer due to conflict leading to forced displacement and violations of their human rights, says top UN official


By Olarewaju Kola


Some 17 million people require humanitarian assistance in Africa’s Lake Chad Basin area, with about 8.5 million in the northeast Nigeria region ridden by Boko Haram violence, said a top UN official on Tuesday.

“Civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict that has led to widespread forced displacement and violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” Mark Lowcock, the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, told a press conference in Maiduguri, heartland of the Boko Haram violence.

He said roughly 450,000 children are malnourished in the Chad Basin region, as well as some southern parts of the adjacent Republic of Niger.

Lowcock said the recent outbreak of cholera in the area was a symptom of the seven years of violence, calling for more support to provide aid to civilians displaced by the crisis.

The Western African nation of Nigeria is bordered by the nations of Niger, Chad and Cameroon at the northeast fringe. These countries have also experienced Boko Haram violence since 2014.

Boko Haram, a terrorist group which seeks to carve a caliphate for itself in the country’s northern region, has carried out a series of attacks since its first uprising in July 2009.

Nearly 50,000 have been killed or maimed in the attacks, according to official records.