Doctors Without Borders says the violence-wracked northeastern region of Nigeria is “close” to famine and must be declared a “top emergency” by the United Nations. The charity group, also known as the MSF by its French acronym, on Wednesday urged the UN to set up emergency food transports to the area, where up to 800,000 civilians have been cut off for over a year due to the ongoing violence by the Boko Haram Takfiri militants. The MSF said a UN “top emergency” designation would immediately mobilize more resources to a crisis that has not received nearly enough attention.
Bruno Jochum, director of MSF Switzerland, told a news briefing in Geneva that a humanitarian disaster is unfolding across the region. “The situation is a large-scale humanitarian disaster…. There is a vital need to have a food pipeline in place to save the population that can be saved,” Jochum said, adding, “We are talking at least about pockets of what is close to a famine.”
MSF emergency program manager Hugues Robert also said some cities in the northeast had gone up to 18 months without any humanitarian deliveries before aid agencies and the UN arrived in June. “What was extremely shocking was the level of severe acute malnutrition,” he told reporters in Geneva after returning from Borno state, the epicenter of the Boko Haram militancy. He also said communities faced “close to a famine situation” in the troubled region.