Posted by News Express | 16 June 2016 | 2,582 times
Nigeria has the largest caseload of internally displaced persons in Africa and one of the largest globally, the United Nations Children;s Fund (UNICEF) has said in a regional press release to mark International Day of the African Child. The theme for the Day of the African Child this year is “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights”.
UNICEF said: “This is particularly relevant for Nigeria, where conflict in the North East has had an enormous impact on children, the most vulnerable members of society.
“Children affected by the conflict in North East Nigeria have been the victims of grave violations of their rights – killings, abductions, sexual violence and even the use of children in so-called “suicide” attacks.
“Even where children are not the direct targets of violence, the impact of conflict on their lives is tragic.
“Nigeria has the largest caseload of internally displaced persons in Africa and one of the largest globally. Of the more than 2.4 million people displaced from their homes by the conflict, more than half are children. More than a quarter of the displaced are five years old or younger.
“These children have been wrenched from their homes and their communities; many have been injured or have witnessed the injury or deaths of loved ones; some 20,000 children have been separated from their families or are alone as a result of the conflict. Children who have been displaced are at increased risk of abuse, violence and exploitation, as well as abduction and recruitment by armed groups.
“Children in the host communities where most of the displaced are living are also affected – health, education, water and sanitation facilities that were already stretched in the North East have been further compromised. Malnutrition has risen dramatically.
“As new areas that had been cut off from humanitarian assistance because of the security situation are now being reached, UNICEF and its partners are finding deplorable conditions and critically high levels of malnutrition.
“Further cases of malnutrition are likely to be found over the next few months as national authorities and humanitarian partners reach areas that were until recently inaccessible.”
The statement assured that UNICEF is working with its Federal and State partners, as well as other organisations, to support the population affected by the conflict in the North East with nutrition interventions such as screening for malnutrition and provision of Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food; as well as basic health care services such as immunisation and provision of medicine and equipment to health facilities; as well as water, sanitation and hygiene services. We are supporting education of children affected by the conflict and have been able to provide psychosocial support to tens of thousands of traumatised children.
•Photo shows Nigerian IDPs undergoing registration at a camp.
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