According to the UN News centre, the number of Nigerians seeking refuge in Chad has almost quadrupled over the past 10 days after attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in northeastern Nigeria uprooted thousands, the United Nations refugee agency reported on Friday.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that attacks in Borno state have uprooted about 7,300 Nigerians, forcing them into western Chad, where most are staying with local communities in villages around 450 kilometres north-west of the capital, N’Djamena.
A spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the 3 January attack on the town of Baga alone caused 3,400 people to flee to Chad.
“The Government of Chad has requested international assistance,” said the spokesperson. “The Chadian Government has sent a mission and a medical team to the areas and is providing food assistance and other basic supplies. Humanitarian agencies including OCHA, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNHCR, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are currently in the area assessing needs.”
UNHCR is assessing the protection situation and coordinating aid delivery. “We’re already providing plastic sheets, jerry cans, mats, blankets and kitchen tools. Other humanitarian organizations are distributing aid too,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards noted in Geneva.
Mr. Edwards said UNHCR teams are seeking more information on the new arrivals and their needs and noted that the attack on Baga left hundreds dead and forced most of the town’s surviving inhabitants to flee.