7.1m people in acute need of protection, life-saving assistance in North-east – IOM

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has revealed that an estimated 7.1 million people affected by the conflict in the North-east are currently in acute need of protection and life-saving assistance in the region.

The international organisation was making refference to the Humanitarian Response Strategy for Nigeria between 2019-2021.

In a statement made available to Blueprint Wednesday in Abuja by IOM information officer, Attah Ikechukwu, also revealed that the ongoing hostilities in north-east Nigeria has caused the displacement of 1.8 million women, men and children, hampering their access to vital resources including water.

“In addition to the displaced population, 1.56 million individuals have returned to their communities since August 2015, due to the expanded presence of security forces. However, the infrastructure in these areas is still severely damaged or destroyed and essential services have yet to be fully restored. People in Gwoza town, Borno State for example, spend several hours a day under the scorching sun searching for water, often in unsafe, hand-dug wells. The lack of infrastructure leaves no other option as the limited available resources are overstretched by the needs of displaced and returnee populations.”

But the international organisation said it has completed the drilling of an additional borehole in Damboa, as well the rehabilitation of a community market in Konduga and two primary schools in Mandarari and Pulka benefitting approximately 6,000 individuals.

Speaking at the occasion of the reopening of the water facilities, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Lee In-tae, stated that in 2018, Korea donated USD 7.5 million to support women and girls in Borno state while joining multilateral efforts to tackle humanitarian needs via IOM and other agencies.

“The Korean Government will continue to strengthen efforts by providing support to vulnerable people, especially women and girls, continuing capacity-building of government officials, and promoting education and health of Nigerian youth,” he added.

The added that the rehabilitation project has, however, improved the access to water for 13,500 individuals voluntarily returning to their communities of origin.

“Access to clean water in these areas of return has been achieved through the drilling, installation, maintenance and rehabilitation of boreholes, all of which are powered by solar energy.

“Our aim is to improve access to community infrastructure and basic services and to ensure that these rehabilitation activities are sustainable,” said Dave Bercasio, IOM Nigeria Head of Sub-office. “That is why we are engaging the beneficiaries by forming community-based water, sanitation and hygiene committees,” he added.

The said committees, comprising local elders, women, men and youth, will be tasked to conduct regular water quality monitoring activities, provide maintenance of the boreholes and conduct sensitization activities to raise awareness about the rehabilitated facilities and how to use them.

The project approach, according to the statement is guided by the IOM Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situation (PRDS) framework.

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