Boko Haram Isn't the Biggest Killer in Nigeria

It's famine, and the Washington Post calls it a major humanitarian disaster
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2016 2:33 PM CDT
Boko Haram Isn't the Biggest Killer in Nigeria
A doctor feeds a malnourished child at a feeding centre run by Doctors Without Borders in Maiduguri, Nigeria.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

After years of battling the extremist group Boko Haram, the government of Nigeria is starting to claw back some hard-fought territory in the country's northeast. What they're finding in the aftermath of the group's defeat, the Washington Post reports, is famine, disease, and displacement on a scale that's proven tough to manage. It is, in fact, "one of the world's biggest humanitarian disasters," writes Kevin Sieff in the newspaper's look at the problem. UN official Toby Lanzer, who oversees the region, predicts Nigeria is about to face "a famine unlike any we have ever seen anywhere." More than 4 million people are facing food shortages across the nation, with 65,000 already living in famine or famine-like conditions, reports Nigerian outlet the Daily Post.

The crisis is centered in the state of Borno, an area that was the focus of a major 2015 offensive against Boko Haram. As the militants were pushed out, the government initially thought the situation in Borno was sustainable. "It was only in April when we realized the magnitude, and the fact the government couldn’t handle this alone," another UN official tells the Post. The Nigerian government didn't call for international aid until June of this year. For now, the groups are still struggling to respond to the crisis. "Every time I think I know how bad it is, we get more data and it’s worse," says Arjan de Wagt, UNICEF nutrition chief in Nigeria. Click for the full Post story. (More Nigeria stories.)

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