Thursday, June 23, 2016

The unseen and unheard refugee crisis

MSF says "a catastrophic humanitarian emergency" is unfolding at a camp in Bama, where 24,000 people have taken refuge. Nearly 200 refugees, who fled Boko Haram attacks, have died of starvation and dehydration. The refugees "speak of children dying of hunger and digging new graves every day," according to a statement from the global medical charity group. One in five of the 15,000 children are suffering severe acute malnutrition, the group found.

Ongoing clashes between the rebels and government troops make travel unsafe and farmers have not planted crops for 18 months, Dr Christopher Mampula of MSF explained. Boko Haram fighters routinely burn down homes and destroy wells, leaving few water sources in an area where temperatures often soar above 40 degrees.

The refugees in Bama are among 1.8 million Nigerians forced from their homes and living inside the country, with another 155,000 in neighbouring countries, according to the UN.

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