European countries say that more than 800,000 Nigerian do not have access to aid and may even be starving in the northeast of the country, which contradicts the information provided by the Nigerian government that the crisis had eased. The Nigerian authorities said earlier this year that the crisis in the northeast caused by a decade-long conflict with jihadist fighters had abated and efforts should shift from humanitarian aid to development aid. In an attempt to portray the northeast of the country as becoming safe, thousands of people have been ordered back to unsafe areas that are hard to reach for humanitarian assistance.
The EU, Britain, France and Germany urged the United Nations and its agencies to stress the urgency of a disaster, which is putting children at risk of starvation. “We are very concerned about urgent and unmet humanitarian and protection needs in North-East Nigeria,” they wrote. The UN mission in Nigeria must put pressure on the government to allow “the rapid, unimpeded and unfettered humanitarian access to people in need of life-saving assistance.”The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) says that the conflict in the Lake Chad region is among the most severe in the world.
Overall, the crisis in Nigeria is caused by a poisonous mix of underdevelopment, poverty and climate change challenges. The agency estimates that more than 10 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Around 17 million people live in the areas affected by the conflict between military actors and non-state forces in the Lake Chad region covering Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. More than 2.3 million people have been displaced or forced from their homes. The conflict is having a damaging effect on the mental health of the displaced populations still living in violence.