The UN Development Programme (UNDP) in a new study on the 12-year-old conflict in northeast Nigeria estimates, directly and indirectly, the deaths of some 350,000 people, the vast majority of which are children below the age of five. The death toll is ten times higher than previous estimates.
“With another decade of conflict, that could grow to more than 1.1 million,” it said.
Of nearly 350,000 deaths from the conflict, it estimated 314,000 to have resulted from indirect causes. Insecurity has led to declines in agricultural production and trade, reducing access to food and threatening the many households that depend on agriculture for their livelihood, the UN said. Thousands of displaced people lack access to food, health facilities, shelter and clean water, with children more vulnerable, the report added.
Children younger than five accounts for some 324,000 deaths, more than nine out of 10 of those killed, with 170 dying every day.
“In northeast Nigeria alone, 13.1 million people live in areas affected by conflict, out of whom 8.7 million are in need of immediate assistance,” the UN said.
Boko Haram launched an uprising in 2009 displacing more than two million from their homes and spawning one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with millions of people dependent on aid. The conflict shows little sign of ending. Nigeria’s Boko Haram group split into two in 2016 with its rival ISIL (ISIS)-allied faction ISWAP becoming the dominant threat. Despite ongoing military operations, the groups have continued to launch attacks, spreading violence to parts of neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.