Global humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has raised an alarm that over 30,000 people are in acute need of shelter, water, food, and medical care, among others in Monguno Local Government Area of Bono State.
The organisation said this in a statement on Tuesday by its Field Communication Officer in Borno, Abdulkareem Yakubu.
According to it, the affected people were forced to flee to the town following renewed clashes that erupted in parts of the state in December 2018.
It added that the immediate humanitarian needs of the people were not being addressed adequately.
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MSF said there was an urgent need for better coordination between the Nigerian government, United Nations and non-governmental organisations in scaling up the aid response in Monguno, so as to avoid a catastrophic situation with the onset of the rainy season expected in May.
It stated that the residents have been caught up in a cycle of violence, displacement, and insecurity, in the last 10 years.
It, however, warned that people’s health was at risk due to the dire living conditions as the latest clashes have forced tens of thousands from their homes, fields, and livelihoods, and left them struggling to survive.
“People who recently arrived in Monguno fled their homelands leaving everything behind,” says MSF humanitarian affairs officer, Musa Baba.
He added, “They come from areas where they could farm. Now, they are sleeping on the streets or wherever they can find space, hungry, thirsty and exposed to very high temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night.”
The group identified the lack of land to build shelters for new arrivals as a major problem in Monguno.
Thousands of recently displaced people, according to it, have no space to settle and are living and sleeping in the middle of the town’s streets for weeks, even months.
MSF said it has built shelters in different camps along with some other humanitarian organisations, noting that the camps have the capacity to accommodate more displaced people.
It added that its teams have set up 100 tents and were ready to put up 700 additional shelters for the displaced persons.
“The current situation, with very vulnerable people – women, children and the elderly – living out of doors, rather than in a camp or with the host community, increases the risk of abuses and the need for protection,” Musa said.
The organisation revealed that a 35-year-old woman, Hajja Bukar, recently arrived in Monguno having been displaced a number of times over recent years due to the Boko Haram insurgency.
It said the woman and her four children have since settled in one of the town’s camps for displaced people, in a rudimentary shelter made of sticks and cloth.
“We are surviving by doing menial jobs like washing dishes and getting paid for it, while our men sometimes go into the bush to fetch firewood to sell,” Hajja was quoted as saying.
MSF was worried that poor living conditions with little sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water were putting displaced people in Monguno at risk of pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria, among other preventable diseases.
it said it was running a 10-bed emergency room for adults at a Ministry of Health facility in Monguno, as well as providing people with mental health support.