WFP raises alarm over state of Nigerian refugees

THE United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday raised alarm over the situation of displaced Nigerians in the northeastern part of the country and in the Chadian Lac side border.

  The WFP, at a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland said the state of more than 13,000 refugees “remain tense and highly volatile” and would require $11 million to meet their needs.    

  In its intervention, WFP spokesperson, Elisabeth Byrs, said that rations of 159 tonnes had started arriving at the weekend in the border region in Baga Sola.  

  WFP was planning a first round of distributions for 10 days to more than 7,800 refugees from Ngouboua in Nigeria, of whom 4,103 were new arrivals.  

  According to Byrs, WFP was able to respond to the first wave of refugees of 6,250 persons within two days of their arrival, with an emergency ration of two days.

  Byrs, however, expressed concern over the impact this refugee migration would have on host communities. 

 “There has also been an impact on trade flow. Chad had previously exported cattle to Nigeria through the Lac Region and most of this trade had been recently affected by the crisis. The income of livestock-keepers in the region has also been affected. 

  “Maize farmers who exported their grains to Nigeria are affected as well. The decrease of trade also has had a negative impact on Kanem and Bar El Ghazal’s regions, which had the highest level of food insecurity in Chad,” Brys said.

  She added that many of the refugees were currently located in several hard-to-reach small islands on Lake Chad.

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