Conditions in Nigerian Town Do Not Allow for the Safe Return of Refugees

Following recent deadly attacks in the city of Rann, Nigeria, 40,000 women, men, and children were forced to flee their homes. Now, at least 10,000 of those displaced people are reportedly returning to Borno State. Action Against Hunger warns  that current conditions in Rann do not guarantee that refugees will be allowed to return safely. 

In Northeast Nigeria, civilians continue to pay a heavy price for the nearly decade-long conflict, which has resulted in broad, forced displacement of the population. Since December 2018, Rann has been attacked at least four times by non-state armed groups. According to the latest report from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Agencies (OCHA), clinics and humanitarian facilities have been targeted, looted, and destroyed.

“International and national humanitarian organization have not been able to return to Rann to provide humanitarian assistance due to ongoing insecurity since January 17, 2019. In these conditions, it is difficult to imagine a safe return of the refugees who are in need of vital assistance,” says Shashwat Saraf, Action Against Hunger Country Director in Nigeria. 

The women, men, and children who fled Rann are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including shelter, food, and clean water. In January, Action Against Hunger carried out a nutrition assessment of refugees who had fled near Goura, Cameroon. The results showed that severe acute malnutrition levels among children under five years old are more than double the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold. 

“A hasty return of people to Rann could have dramatic consequences. Protection and assistance to this population fleeing violence should be guaranteed," explains Shashwat Saraf. 

Action Against Hunger is working in Nigeria and Cameroon to meet the urgent needs of people affected by the conflict and depend upon humanitarian aid for survival. Recent developments illustrate that the needs remain huge and the crisis is far from a resolution.

Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist and leader in a global movement that aims to end life-threatening hunger for good within our lifetimes. For 40 years, the humanitarian and development organization has been on the front lines, treating and preventing hunger across nearly 50 countries. It served more than 21 million people in 2018 alone.