West & Central Africa

Unicef warns that 75, 000 children at risk of starvation in Nigerian refugee camps 

Arjan de WagtThousands of children will die of severe malnutrition if they do not get aid, said Arjan de Wagt, nutrition chief for UNICEF in Nigeria.  Only $24 million has been raised out of the $115 million needed to stop the tragedy. “Lives are literally hanging by a thread.” says UNICEF.

If this happens, 750, 000 will be much more than the over 20,000 people killed by Boko Haram, the Islamic terrorist organisation. According to Arjan de Wagt, “Globally, you just don’t see this. You have to go back to places like Somalia five years ago to see these kinds of levels.”

For all the donations and assistance given to Nigeria in the past couple of years, corruption and stealing of relief material by government officials have compounded the problems and driven refugees into starvation and prostitution by women and girls in many of the camps. Doctors without borders, MSF, said the government’s relief agencies are “massively insufficient, uncoordinated and ill-adapted.”

Reuters reported on the case of one woman in Maiduguri’s Bakassi camp, Amina Ali Pulka, a 30-year-old who had sex in exchange for extra food to give her five children. “I did it because I had nobody to feed me or clothe me,” Pulka told Reuters.

She added that the man also gave her money which she used to buy personal items. “Some go out to beg on the streets, others go out of the camp to look for menial jobs, while others use their bodies to get food and money,” she told Reuters. “Everybody is talking about it.”