The United Nations on Tuesday confirmed that at least 16 local governments initially occupied by the Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria have been liberated by Nigerian forces.
The immediate past UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mohamed Safieldin, said he made on-the-spot assessment of some of the liberated local governments including Bama, Damboa, Monguno, Konduga, Dikwa, Gwoza, Pulka, and Banki .
Speaking to the New York correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, the official lamented the level of destruction on the communities by Boko Haram, saying there is real humanitarian crisis in the liberated areas.
“You can’t imagine the level of physical destruction of all the basic facilities such as hospitals, water supply system, the schools and the homes of the individual poor people.
“So it is a real humanitarian crisis in terms of the number. It is a real humanitarian crisis in terms of availability of humanitarian aid at the moment,” he said.
Mr. Safieldin’s comment confirms various statements by Nigerian officials that most of the territory initially occupied by the terror group have been reclaimed.
Despite the successes of the soldiers, however, attacks on soldiers and civilians still continue leading to hundreds of deaths.
On Tuesday, Mr. Safieldin also said that no fewer than 30,000 metric tonnes of food is required monthly to feed the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, caused by the Boko Haram insurgency.
He lamented that the monthly requirement was currently not being met.
“The available humanitarian aid at the moment is inadequate. Whether it is the aid coming from the government or aid coming from the international community; it is inadequate.
“Many people either don’t have any food or they have less than what is sufficient for one meal a day; we are talking of at least 1.8 million displaced people.
“To feed these people, you need an estimated 30,000 metric tonnes of food every month and this amount of food is not available from the government and it is not available from the international community.”
According to him, the liberation of more communities previously under the control of Boko Haram by the Nigerian military has meant more mouths to feed.
According to him, at least 800,000 people currently need urgent humanitarian assistance.
“Since March, the Federal Government and Nigerian Army have gained full control of at least 16 LGAs in the north-east; many cities and villages have become accessible.
“Many civilians have been relocated by the army from remote villages in which they (were) living under Boko Haram to the capital of the LGAs and 16 satellite camps have been established.
“There is a minimum of 300,000 civilians living in these satellite camps in addition to an estimated 500,000 people who are living in these liberated areas outside the satellite camps.
“So all together, we are talking of about 800,000 people at least, who are accessible, who need humanitarian assistance urgently because I have visited many of these places.”
He said IDPs living in formal camps in Maiduguri represented only 10 per cent of the population adding, 90 per cent of them live in host communities.
“The 90 per cent of the IDPs live in the host communities in Maiduguri and other urban and rural areas and they have been suffering, they don’t have enough food, medical care and shelter.
“The major problem at the moment, the 800,000 people who are in the very remote LGAs recovered by the army from Boko Haram, are the people that are suffering continuously for a long time.
“The humanitarian aid that is reaching them is insufficient and yet their voices are not heard and I would love to see the media from Nigeria reaching out to these people to see their suffering.
“So the good news of the victory of the army to recover these areas has meant an additional challenge on the humanitarian community to be able to provide more aid.
“However, at the moment, the humanitarian aid that is available is insufficient,” he said.