The United Nations Refugee Agency has issued an urgent funding appeal for $174.4 million to help 192,000 refugees fleeing the violence in the North East of Nigeria.
The funding also foresees a plan to respond to any additional population movements amid unrelenting volatile climate across Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
The appeal was contained in a statement issued on Friday in New York, United States of America by UNHCR Regional Representative for West Africa and Coordinator for the Nigeria Refugee situation, Liz Ahua.
Ahua said: “Displaced people in north-eastern Nigeria and across borders are in a very dramatic situation; they fear for their lives and are at this point unable to return to their homes.
“We need more financial support to continue to help the refugees and to plan for increased aid in case of more people fleeing for safety outside Nigeria.”
Ahua said funds realised from the appeal would help the UN’s humanitarian agencies to relocate refugees away from the conflict border areas and establish additional refugee camps where needed.
“Adequate funding is crucial to make sure aid agencies can improve the living conditions for refugees in asylum countries and respond to their protection needs,” she said.
She said aid agencies on the ground in the region were struggling to scale up and maintain basic services to refugees in camps, including shelter and food, access to health, education, clean water and sanitation.
Ahua added: “Thousands of school-age refugee children remain are unable to attend schools because of a lack of classrooms and teachers.
“Similarly while the need for mental health support among local civilians has also sky-rocketed|.”
She said since 2009 when the Boko Haram insurgents resorted to wide-scale violence, more than 15,000 people have been killed involving countless children and women.
Ahua said the terror caused by Boko Haram had also provoked the instability of Nigeria’s northern region, which spilled over the country’s borders, affecting the wider region and displacing over a million people.
She said the latest movements of refugees across Nigeria’s borders are expected to bring the number of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon to nearly 66,000.
Elsewhere in the region, she said refugee numbers are also rising.
The UNHCR chief said some 18,000 people had fled to western Chad, including more than 15,000 since early January after Boko Haram’s offensive against the town of Baga in Nigeria’s Borno State.
Ahua said more than 100,000 people had already found refuge in Niger in spite of steadily deteriorating humanitarian situation and a spike in insurgent attacks against the towns of Bosso and Diffa.
She said the refugee crisis was compounding the economic crisis in the area.
A World Food Programme assessment in Niger in November 2014 showed that 52.7 per cent of displaced households and their host families were severely in need of food assistance.