Lake Chad Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #22 FY2017

August 17, 2017

  • Tripartite Commission assembles to discuss implementation of Tripartite Agreement
  • Nigerian military forcibly enters UN compound in northeastern Nigeria, prompting UN to suspend operations
  • Nearly 6,700 Nigeriens flee to Chad due to fear of attacks by armed groups

Numbers At A Glance

8.5 million

Population Requiring Humanitarian Assistance in Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States

1.69 million

IDPs in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe

127,299

IDPs in Niger’s Diffa Region

228,443

IDPs in Cameroon’s Far North Region

118,804

IDPs in Chad’s Diffa Region

206,492

Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger

Humanitarian Funding

For the Lake Chad Basin Response

USAID/OFDA 146,700,677
USAID/FFP $364,938,366
State/PRM $111,662,524
USAID Nigeria $17,036,443
Total $640,338,010

From August 10–12, members of the Tripartite Commission—comprising representatives of the Government of Nigeria (GoN), the Government of the Republic of Cameroon (GRC), and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)—convened in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss the implementation of the Tripartite Agreement, which calls for safe, dignified, and voluntary returns of refugees from Cameroon to Nigeria. The gathering marked the first meeting of the Commission since the signing of the Tripartite Agreement in early March.

Nigerian military forces forcibly entered a UN compound in Borno State’s capital city of Maiduguri on August 11 and searched humanitarian personnel belongings and equipment, resulting in a temporary suspension of UN operations in the area, relief actors report. Shortly after the incident, UN officials and Borno authorities released public statements condemning the actions and held a joint press conference to demonstrate mutual commitment to safeguarding humanitarian staff, effectively diffusing the situation. The GoN Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released a statement expressing regret regarding the incident, noting that the government recognized its obligations under international humanitarian law and principles. As of August 14, the UN had resumed operations, including flight services, in Borno.

Nearly 6,700 people recently fled Niger’s conflict-affected Diffa Region to shelter near a refugee camp in Chad’s Lac Region due to fear of attacks by armed groups, according to UNHCR. In response, an interagency team, including Government of Chad authorities and UN leadership, conducted a field assessment in Lac, and UN agencies are distributing food and relief commodities to affected households.

Tripartite Commission members met in Abuja from August 10–12 to discuss measures to ensure the protection of refugees and establish a voluntary returns process in accordance with international standards. During opening remarks, UNHCR emphasized the importance of adhering to international humanitarian law when establishing a voluntary returns process. The Tripartite Commission directed the Technical Working Group—formed in early June to operationalize the Commission’s recommendations—to develop a phased, time-bound approach to guide returns and the sustainable reintegration of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon. The Commission called upon the international humanitarian community for support to ensure the delivery of assistance to, and protection of, Nigerian refugees in Cameroon during the development of the voluntary repatriation process.

As a result of increased insecurity in Diffa, Niger, nearly 6,700 people have fled to Dar el Kheir—a site on the Chadian side of the Chad–Nigeria border near the Dar es Salam refugee camp that neighbors Lac’s Baga Sola town—since July 17, UNHCR reports. The individuals reportedly fled Diffa due to fear of increased attacks by Boko Haram following the withdrawal of Chadian military forces from the area.

In response, an interagency team, including UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria Edward Kallon and the head of the Chadian Refugee Commission (CNARR), visited Lac from August 2–4, meeting with humanitarian staff, local authorities, and newly displaced persons to assess humanitarian conditions and needs in the area. With UNHCR support, CNARR plans to register the displaced people in Dar el Kheir.

UNHCR recently distributed relief items to approximately 10,000 people in Dar el Kheir and deployed 17 additional staff from in-country offices to support local response efforts. USAID/FFP partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) recently delivered emergency food assistance to approximately 7,200 individuals in the affected area.

On the morning of August 11, Nigerian military forces forcibly entered the Red Roof compound, the main UN humanitarian hub in Maiduguri, prompting the UN to temporarily suspend operations in the area, according to relief actors. The forces searched the buildings, including humanitarian personnel belongings and information technology equipment. While no relief workers were harmed, the UN expressed concern regarding the unauthorized search of the compound.

Shortly after the incident, UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria Peter Lundberg and Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima held a joint press conference to demonstrate mutual commitment to safeguarding humanitarian staff. The GoN Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released a statement condemning the incident and underscoring the importance of reestablishing confidence, cooperation, and trust among the GoN, Nigerian military, and humanitarian actors. As of August 14, the UN had resumed routine humanitarian movements and operations.

On August 15, a series of person-borne improvised explosive device (PBIED) attacks in and around Maiduguri, including two PBIED attacks on a nearby internally displaced person (IDP) camp, resulted in at least 27 civilian deaths and more than 80 injuries, international media report.

Members of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Nigeria traveled to Maiduguri in early August to meet with partners and monitor activities. USAID partners reported no new severe acute malnutrition (SAM) cases in recent weeks among camp residents from visited sites, which partners attributed to ongoing food assistance and complementary nutrition interventions. Staff at an outpatient therapeutic program in an IDP camp in Maiduguri reported that the total number of SAM cases has notably decreased during the past several months, with fewer than 60 patients receiving treatment in July. Additionally, staff at the camp’s health care clinic reported treating fewer cases of malnutrition among camp residents as compared to early 2017. However, partners noted that children from adjacent host communities continue to seek SAM treatment at health care facilities in the camps.

Protracted conflict and insecurity in northeastern Nigeria has disrupted markets and trade routes, resulting in below-average market functioning and increased dependence on imports of major food staples, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). Maize prices in northeastern Nigeria were 120 percent higher in July compared to the five-year average price and more than 60 percent higher compared to the 2016 price. FEWS NET anticipates that maize prices will likely further increase by up to 17 percent in Maiduguri in August, primarily due to decreased food supplies during the peak of Nigeria’s lean season.

Congestion at the Port of Lagos is hindering the timely delivery of relief assistance, including specialized nutrition assistance, to vulnerable populations in the region, the UN reports. In response, WFP is coordinating with port authorities to grant prioritized access to WFP trucks in the coming weeks. Furthermore, flooding from Nigeria’s May-to-October rainy season has damaged roads and helicopter landing pads, prompting relief actors to explore airlift and cross-border transportation options as potential solutions.

With USAID/FFP support, WFP and its partners reached an estimated 1.1 million people in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states with food assistance—including nutrition assistance for approximately 158,000 children ages six to 23 months and 78,000 pregnant and nursing women—in July. In collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WFP also distributed livelihoods starter kits containing fertilizer, food rations, seeds, and tools to smallholder farmers in July to support agricultural production in northeastern Nigeria. In addition, a USAID/FFP partner provided electronic food vouchers to more than 101,000 people in northeastern Nigeria between April and June 2017. The partner also conducted malnutrition screenings for nearly 42,500 children ages five years and younger, including nearly 1,400 children suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, in Borno.

The incidence of hepatitis E—a disease endemic to Nigeria that is typically spread through contaminated drinking water—appears to be decreasing in Borno, according to the UN World Health Organization (WHO). The UN agency reported a slight but steady decline in newly identified suspected or confirmed cases since the peak of the outbreak in late June; however, health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) actors caution that diligent containment and prevention measures are required to manage the current outbreak and prevent a resurgence of cases in northeastern Nigeria. Since the onset of the outbreak in June, health authorities have recorded more than 800 suspected or confirmed cases and four related deaths, with the majority of cases concentrated among IDPs and Nigerian refugees returning to areas of origin from neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, WHO reports.

In response to the outbreak, Médecins Sans Frontières/Switzerland and USAID partners, including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have established three hepatitis E management facilities in Ngala—the most-affected Local Government Area (LGA)—to improve case surveillance, reporting, and tracking. Ongoing response activities in IDP camps and host communities in Ngala include the construction of new latrine and shower blocks, dissemination of community-led sanitation campaigns, distribution of hygiene and WASH kits, and rehabilitation of water points to improve access to safe drinking water.

In July, USAID/OFDA partners provided health consultations to approximately 10,900 people and routine immunizations for more than 4,000 children in IDP sites and host communities in Borno. A partner commenced rehabilitation of two health care clinics in Borno’s Jere and Konduga LGAs and conducted mid-upper arm circumference screenings for nearly 24,100 children ages five years and younger in Konduga and in Yobe’s Gubja and Gulani LGAs, identifying high levels of SAM in several areas of Konduga’s Njimtilo Ward. In addition, the partner distributed approximately 3,400 emergency shelter kits and relief commodity kits in Borno and Yobe, and supported the construction of 15 emergency latrine blocks in Borno’s Jere, Kukawa, and Monguno LGAs.

In July, USAID partner WHO and other health organizations began implementing key initiatives to prevent and control malaria transmission, including distributing bed nets, increasing access to health care services, providing malaria treatment drugs to children, and strengthening surveillance systems to monitor malaria cases and outbreaks. The activities follow recent results from a WHO modeling exercise, which estimated that coordinated malaria prevention and control actions could avert at least 10,000 deaths in Borno by November. As of early July, WHO and other relief agencies had provided antimalarial drugs to more than 880,000 children ages five years and younger—approximately 80 percent of the planned 1.1 million children. WHO also trained community health care workers in Borno to conduct rapid diagnostic tests, provide treatment, and advise patients on preventive measures.

On July 16, more than 80 Nigerian refugees were forcibly relocated from Mayo-Sava Department’s Kolofata town to northeastern Nigeria, bringing the total number of Nigerian refugees forcibly returned from Cameroon to Nigeria to more than 4,400 since January, UNHCR reports.

Additionally, local authorities, in cooperation with the Cameroonian military, began relocating more than 12,000 IDPs from Kolofata to a resettlement site on the outskirts of the town on July 15; UNHCR reported that local authorities had resettled approximately 2,000 IDPs as of August 11. UNHCR continues to express concern regarding the relocation of IDPs and refugees, particularly the IDPs from Kolofata, due to poor shelter and WASH conditions at the resettlement site.

The security situation in Cameroon’s Far North remains volatile, with the UN reporting recent militant attacks in Logone-Et-Chari Department. Additionally, local authorities in Maroua City recently reinstituted a curfew and security forces strengthened patrols in response to several militant attacks in July, according to UNHCR. In July, UNHCR reported eight militant attacks on civilian populations in Far North, including a July 12 incident in Far North’s Waza town that resulted in 14 deaths.

In Chad’s Lac Region, approximately 335,000 people, including Chadian returnees and Nigerian refugees, were experiencing food insecurity during Chad’s lean season as of mid-August, the UN reports. The UN estimated that 50,000 children ages five years and younger were suffering from acute malnutrition, including approximately 22,000 children who were experiencing SAM. In response, WFP provided food assistance to approximately 96,000 displaced persons in Lac and cash transfers to nearly 22,000 IDPs and 5,600 refugees sheltering in Dar es Salam camp.

Since May, armed groups have reportedly attacked at least 12 villages in Lac, particularly in Kaiga Kindjiria and Tchoukoutalia border areas, where approximately 15,000 people are displaced, the UN reports. The security incidents have compromised civilian protection, increased displacement, and limited humanitarian access.

In response to persistent conflict and insecurity in Niger’s Diffa Region, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement provided nearly 4,900 metric tons of food assistance to benefit approximately 396,000 people who were displaced or had recently returned to places of origin between April and June. The organization also supported surgical procedures for nearly 130 patients and supplied safe drinking water to 6,500 people during the same period.

Despite sustained relief assistance, hepatitis E transmission continues to increase in Diffa, with health actors recording more than 1,500 suspected or confirmed cases and 38 related deaths between January 2 and mid-August, the UN reports.

Following escalated violence in northeastern Nigeria, the GoN declared a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe in May 2013. Between 2013 and 2015, Boko Haram attacks generated significant displacement within Nigeria and eventually to the surrounding countries of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. As Boko Haram expanded its reach in Nigeria, controlling territory and launching attacks in neighboring countries, the scale of displacement continued to increase, and deteriorations in markets and loss of livelihoods exacerbated conflict-related food insecurity.

By early 2016, advances by the Nigerian military and the Multi-National Joint Task Force—comprising forces from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria—had recovered large swathes of territory from Boko Haram in Nigeria, revealing acute food insecurity and malnutrition in newly accessible areas. Insecurity, including attacks by Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria–West Africa, continues to restrict access to basic services, and both displaced people and vulnerable host communities are in need of emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, and relief commodities, as well as health, nutrition, protection, shelter, and WASH interventions.

In October and November 2016, U.S. Ambassador Michael S. Hoza, U.S. Ambassador Geeta Pasi, U.S. Ambassador Eunice S. Reddick, and U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., David J. Young, redeclared disasters for the complex emergencies in Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, respectively.

On November 10, 2016, USAID activated a DART to lead the U.S. Government (USG) response to the humanitarian crisis in northeastern Nigeria.

Last updated: September 22, 2017

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