Displaced people hit by water shortages in NE Nigeria: aid workers

2017-03-13 18:34

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Maiduguri- Tens of thousands of people who fled Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria are facing a severe lack of water, compounding widespread food shortages and security fears, aid workers said on Monday.

For the past week supplies have been low at the Muna camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the city of Maiduguri after one of its five solar-powered water pumps broke down.

"We are facing a serious water shortage in the camp," said camp coordinator Tijjani Lumani, adding that the four other pumps on the sprawling site were "inadequate".

Muna camp, on the edge of the city, is currently home to some 41 000 people, Lumani said.

The water drawn up from boreholes is used for cooking and, crucially, washing to prevent the spread of disease through the densely populated camp of makeshift tents.

One aid worker involved in sanitation and health projects for IDPs living in Maiduguri described the water situation at Muna camp as "chronic".

"The water shortage poses a serious health risk to IDPs because they may have to turn to other unclean water sources, which exposes them to water-borne infections like cholera and diarrhoea.

"The situation is more alarming when malnourished children are involved," said the aid worker, who asked not to be identified.

Borno state governor Kashim Shettima confirmed on Sunday that there was a "breakdown of water supply" at the camp but engineers were trying to fix the problem.

"The State Emergency Management Agency has so far supplied 105 000 litres of water using trucks," he said in a statement on his Facebook page.

Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency has killed at least 20 000 people and forced more than 2.6 million others from their homes since it began in northeast Nigeria in 2009.

But as the military opens up areas formerly in rebel hands, the true scale of the devastation has emerged, with people cut off from food supplies and unable to plant crops.

The United Nations has said 7.1 million people are "severely food insecure" in northeast Nigeria and parts of neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger that have also been hit by the conflict.

Conditions in parts of Borno state are "famine-like", it has said.

Boko Haram has continued to target IDPs and there have been several attempted suicide bomb attacks near Muna camp, which is not fenced off and easily accessible.


Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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