By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
A United Nations expert on internally displaced persons (IDPs), Chaloka Beyani, has raised the alarm over the worsening humanitarian crisis in the insurgency plagued North Eastern part of the country.
According to a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja, Bayani made the call at the end of his four day visit to Nigeria.
In the statement, he described the situation resulting from the Boko Haram terror campaign and government counter-insurgency measures as “displaying all the hallmarks of the highest category crises.”
“We are only starting to get a grip of the gravity and extent of the crisis, as civilians, including children, leave newly liberated areas. They bear the signs of advanced malnutrition, and of deep trauma, having been caught in a conflict that has cost them their homes, their livelihoods and often their family members,” said Mr. Beyani.
“The expert noted that the fighting has created more than 2.5 million IDPs in the region.
He stated that “The situation must no longer be downplayed and it is not too late to save many lives. But to do this, the government must act urgently to ensure that food, shelter, medical care, water, sanitation and other essential services reach IDPs without delay.
“Due to a gross underestimation of the crisis, the existing supplies will only cover needs for a very short period of time and will be soon outstripped by demands in the weeks or months ahead,” he said.
According to the UN expert, “The vast majority of IDPs lives outside camps and receive little or no assistance. Urgent steps are required to identify those people and assess their needs, particularly those of the most vulnerable, as well as the needs of host communities who are supporting them with their own resources.”