By Esther Atani, The Sight News
Following renewed clashes in Borno State last December, 30,000 people forced to flee their homes into the township areas of Monguno LGA in Borno State are in severe need of food, shelter and medical supplies among other needs.
This was the alarm raised by the humanitarian organization MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders) in a statement made on Tuesday by its Field Communication Officer in Borno, Abdulkareem Yakubu.
The recent addition of tens of thousands to IDP numbers now more than ever calls for better coordination and synergy between the Nigerian government, United Nations and non-governmental organizations in increasing aid efforts in Monguno.
This, will help to avoid worsening the situation especially with the onset of the rainy season, expected in May.
The residents of Borno State have been locked in a cycle of conflict and violence for the last 10 years with their lives and health placed at risk in the dire conditions.
Hajja Bukar, aged 35, recently arrived in Monguno, having been displaced a number of times already over recent years due to the ongoing conflict. She and her four children have settled in one of the town’s camps for displaced people, in a rudimentary shelter made of sticks and cloth.
MSF, has identified the lack of adequate land as yet another risk factor for the refugees. Thousands of recently displaced people have no space to settle and are living and sleeping in the middle of the town’s streets for weeks, even months.
According to the MSF Humanitarian Affairs Officer Baba Musa, “People who recently arrived in Monguno fled their homelands leaving everything behind.”
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.”
These poor living conditions, with little sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water are putting displaced people in Monguno at risk of pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria, among other preventable diseases.
To combat the situation MSF, along with some other humanitarian organizations, have built shelters in different camps and have capacity to accommodate more displaced people.
MSF teams have set up 100 tents and are ready to put up 700 additional shelters.
The MSF is also running a 10-bed emergency room for adults in a ministry of health facility in Monguno as well as providing people with mental health support.