UNICEF In Desperate Need Of Funds To Deal Boko Haram Crisis In North East Nigeria
The crisis in Nigeria that is the result of the Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s North East has resulted in over 57% of schools in Borno being closed. Borno is Nigeria’s worst affected state and the schools have stayed closed despite the fact that the new school year is about to begin. The crisis which began in 2009 in North Eastern Nigeria has resulted in over 2,295 teachers being murdered and over 19,000 being displaced.
As many as 14,000 schools have been destroyed with the vast majority of them being left unable to reopen because of extensive damage or because they are located in areas considered to be dangerous. It is estimated that as many as 3 million children require emergency education support. Unicef Deputy Director John Forsyth who made a three day visit to North East Nigeria said children living in that part of the country are experiencing unprecedented horror.
Malnutrition disease and violence
Mr Forsyth added that not only are the children subject to devastating malnutrition, violence and cholera, the attacks by the insurgents on schools means there is a real danger of creating a lost generation of children which is a real threat to both the children’s future and the future of the country. There is however some good news, with some children from the camps benefitting from education for the first time in the lives. For example, in one camp located on the outskirts of Maiduguri, an estimated 90 per cent of students were enrolled in school for the first time.
Enrolling children in school
In the three worst affected states of North East Nigeria, Unicef is working with partners to enrol as many as three quarters of a million children in school this year. The aid agency has established more than 350 temporary learning spaces and has distributed as many as 94,000 packs of learning materials that will allow children to receive an education. Unicef and its partners are also working to rehabilitate schools and classrooms as well as delivering training to teachers in order to construct a more robust education system for the future.
Living in fear
On his visit to Maiduguri, Mr Forsyth met with a number of families affected by the conflict who said they lived in fear under Boko Haram as well as the dire conditions they live in. Since the crisis first began, approximately 1 million children have been displaced and close to half a million children under the age of 5 are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year alone. Unicef’s emergency programs which deliver life-saving aid in North Eastern Nigeria remain underfunded. With only three months left this calendar year, there is a 40 per cent funding gap and the aid agency is desperately in need of money.
Comments are closed