The scourge of Boko Haram has taken hold of four countries in West Africa – Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.  

The nations had at one time or the other, if not consistently, felt the claws of insurgency that began eight years ago.

Disturbing numbers of people needing aid have continued to emerge in these four countries and the number has shot up, despite claims of containing the insurgents.  

Now, the United Nations (UN) says more than 10 million people would require aid in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The UN’s Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms Ursula Mueller, gave the figures on Wednesday at the end of her visit to Chad.

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She appealed for urgent support for the countries, especially Chad.

Mueller said the humanitarian emergency across the Lake Chad basin was among the most severe in the world.

“Persistent insecurity and Boko Haram operations mean that more than 10 million people in four countries – Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria – will need aid assistance this year just to survive,” she said.

Part of what is needed is an urgent funding to support 4.4 million people in Chad, including refugees, returnees and Internally Displaced Persons, as well as the communities hosting them.

Mueller underscored the need for durable solutions to the crisis in the Lac region, as noted by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA said the closure of Chad’s border with Nigeria from the beginning of the crisis in the Lac region in 2015, together with the continued implementation of emergency measures, have also had an impact on local populations who already face poor regional development.

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“The activities of the extremist group Boko Haram, as well as violence in Sudan and the Central African Republic, have affected 500,000 people there, including 137,000 people the UN has deemed particularly vulnerable.

“During my visit to displacement sites, I saw the difficult living conditions and lack of means displaced communities face.

“It is unacceptable that these men, women and children who have lost everything, their home, belonging, livelihood and very often family members, continue to live in fear and uncertainty," she added. 

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