Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Anne C. Richard, announced on July 13 from Cameroon nearly $27 million in new humanitarian assistance to support those affected by Boko Haram violence across the Lake Chad Basin region. Together with United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, and European Union Commissioner Christos Stylianides, Assistant Secretary Richard is traveling in Cameroon and Chad to highlight the devastating impact of Boko Haram and strengthen international cooperation to ease the desperate plight of refugees and internally displaced persons in Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria.
Approximately 9.2 million people are suffering forced displacement, deprivation, and disease across the Lake Chad Basin region. Nearly five million are classified as food insecure. There are already 155,000 refugees and 2.6 million internally displaced persons. According to the UN, the number of displaced people has tripled over the last two years. Recent humanitarian assessments have found possible famine conditions in parts of Nigeria, requiring immediate aid to prevent further deterioration and death.
Funding announced today will bolster efforts by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide Nigerian refugees with essential assistance, such as access to clean water and sanitation facilities, health care, essential household items, and shelter. It will also support UNHCR’s protection efforts for IDPs and refugees in the region, maintaining access to asylum and preventing forced returns, addressing issues of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse, and providing programs which protect children. Our funding will also back the expansion of urgently needed food assistance to reach hundreds of thousands more in northeastern Nigeria and in Niger. Contributions to the UN Humanitarian Air Service in Chad and Cameroon will ensure the safe and reliable transport of aid workers and humanitarian cargo.
This new funding brings the total U.S. government humanitarian assistance for the Lake Chad Basin humanitarian response in FY 2015 and FY 2016 to nearly $281 million.
Recently coined the “most under reported, the most underfunded and the least addressed of the big crises we face” by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien, the Lake Chad Basin crisis urgently needs a more robust response. The United States urges all nations to join in doing more to address the extraordinary level of need and to contribute generously to UN and other Lake Chad Basin humanitarian appeals.