By Sadiq Umar – UNICEF has vowed to continue with humanitarian assistance in Borno State despite Thursday attack by insurgents in which two of its aid workers were injured.
The UN body said on Friday that it will continue “to provide assistance to millions of conflict-affected children in northeast Nigeria, despite yesterday’s (Thursday) attack on a humanitarian convoy.”
This was contained in a statement issued by the agency representative in Nigeria.
“We are working at full strength in the Borno state capital Maiduguri,
“We continue to call for increased efforts to reach people in desperate need across the state.
“Our teams were finding people living on the brink of disaster,”
“The violence has disrupted farming and markets, destroyed food stocks, and damaged or destroyed health and water facilities. We absolutely have to reach more of these communities.
“We cannot let this heartless attack divert any of us from reaching the more than two million people who are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance.” stated UNICEF Nigeria Representative Jean Gough.
He called on donors and humanitarian organizations to scale-up the response to the emerging disaster in Borno state, which is the most affected by the conflict with Boko Haram.
UNICEF estimates that 244,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year in Borno state alone and if they are not reached with treatment, one in five of them will die.
UNICEF has provided two million people with health services and treated 56,000 children for malnutrition in the three conflict-affected states of northeast Nigeria. A quarter of a million people have improved access to clean water, and over 200,000 children have been able to go back to school.
UNICEF plans to scale-up its response in Borno state substantially.
At the beginning of the year, UNICEF appealed for US$55 million for its emergency work, of which US$23 million has so far been received.
The agency however explained that as a result of the attack, in which one UNICEF staff member was injured, travel by UN staff to high risk areas has been temporarily suspended.