Field Update: What’s Happening in Boko Haram-Impacted Nigeria

Displacement Emergency Response Nigeria
Ajazara stands with a large brown hijab and her son stands next to her holding a bag of Plumpy'sup on his head
WFP/Andre Vornic
Ajazara and her son carry a package of Plumpy'sup, a specialized nutritious food to fight malnutrition.

Last updated June 12, 2017.

The Bakasi campi in Maiduguri, Nigeria is now home to 30,000 people, including Ajazara and her son. They’ve lived here for eight months now, but they’ve been displaced from their real home for almost three years.

When Boko Haram took over their community, it forced women to stay inside — they could not go out to get food or water. Eventually, Boko Haram killed almost everyone there, including 15 members of Ajazara’s family. She and her son fled.

Many have found shelter and assistance in displaced camps. Many more have been welcomed into the homes of kind-hearted people.

“Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” 57-year-old Karama tells The Washington Post. He has taken in upwards of 70 individuals at a time in his home in Maiduguri. “It is compulsory to help them. They only have what you can see.”

The Boko Haram crisis is complex. But it has led to one very simple thing — limited access to food and a looming famine. 1.8 million people have been displaced and 4.7 million are food-insecure, as of late April 2017, and the numbers are increasing. In fact, food insecurity may ramp up to impact 5.2 million people in June 2017 — that would be more than the entire population of South Carolina.

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The conflict and security situation continue to be monitored by the World Food Programme (WFP), which has already been forced to cut rations for families and children fighting malnutrition because of funding shortfalls. In fact, the agency can no longer provide critical nutritional assistance for children between the ages of three and five. For malnourished children under age two, it has had to reduce rations by half.

This comes at an ill-timed moment when farmers are already unable to plant and harvest because of security threats like the early June attack on Maiduguri. Furthermore, Nigeria’s lean season — the period between harvests when food supplies run low and sometimes run out — has started in May rather than July. Plans to ramp up assistance during the lean season have also been suspended due to funding shortfalls, leaving out 440,000 people who really need it.

That’s why we need to act now. We cannot let famine find a way into Nigeria. This is a great challenge, but challenges have never stopped WFP from doing its lifesaving work. If individuals like Karama can lend a hand, then the whole world can also find a way. The only thing WFP needs now is your support.