The United Nations, through a new fund set up to tackle the crisis-hit north-east of Nigeria, has allocated over US$10.5 million to help thousands of women, children and men in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance.

The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-east and the Lake Chad region is one of the most severe in the world today, with 8.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the three worst-affected Nigerian states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe alone; of them, 6.9 million people are targeted for humanitarian assistance. The $10.5 million allocation by the new fund – the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) – will prioritize life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable, and also expand the humanitarian assistance provided by the United Nations and partners to the hard-to-reach and newly accessible areas.
“This crisis has caused an untold loss of life and liberty across the north-east of Nigeria and civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict,” said Mr. Edward Kallon, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria. “These funds will go towards addressing some of the key priority areas in the humanitarian response that have not yet been financially supported, including the provision of safe drinking water, emergency shelter and health services to those in need.”

Specifically, the $10.5 million will fund about 15 different projects which were selected by the various sectors of the humanitarian response and approved by the NHF Advisory Board. The projects target and address the needs of the most vulnerable people in locations where access is sporadic and where flooding, disease outbreaks and new displacements continue to take place such as Monguno, Mafa, Pulka and Rann (in Borno State), and Michika (in Adamawa State). The funds will also support efforts to enhance the protection of civilians in vulnerable communities and those trapped in conflict areas.

The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund contributes to the overall international humanitarian appeal for Nigeria this year for $1.05 billion as detailed in the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan. It is the fourth largest single-country appeal globally. To date, the appeal is 43 per cent funded.

The NHF is one of 18 country-based pooled funds and was launched during the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region in February 2017. Managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on behalf of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, it plays a vital role in ensuring an effective, coordinated, prioritized and principled humanitarian response, providing funding to international and national NGOs, UN agencies, funds and programmes, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent societies, with a focus on front-line responders.

To date, the NHF has received $25 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of Sweden, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, the Arab Gulf Program for Development, Azerbaijan, Malta and Sri Lanka. Another allocation is expected in the coming months.

By Ijeoma Nwachukwu