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Red Cross provides food aid for people fleeing conflict in Nigeria

More than 25,000 people fleeing the violence in north-eastern Nigeria have sought refuge in neighbouring Niger, where Red Cross is providing food, blankets and other essential items.

Thursday January 15, 2015

Food distribution operation
An ICRC employee talks to displaced people before a food distribution operation. Photo: ICRC/A.Hammadou

The violence in north-eastern Nigeria continues to drive people from their homes and force them to flee across the border to Niger's far south-eastern Diffa area. Here, they live under very difficult conditions.  

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working with Red Cross in Niger to provide food and other relief.  

"In addition to caring for wounded people, we urgently need to provide food, drinking water and basic household items to the thousands - mostly women and children - who continue to flee the violence," explained Loukas Petridis, head of the ICRC delegation in Niger.  

The clashes and resulting poor security have nearly emptied border towns and villages in north-eastern Nigeria, as people have fled to Niger.  

In November and December 2014, almost 21,000 people received food aid, and a further 1,000 families received household essential such as blankets, tarpaulins, clothes and kitchen utensils.  

Over the past three months, more than 25,000 people (residents, displaced people and returnees) have been aided by the ICRC, which worked closely with the Red Cross Society of Niger to deliver food aid for nearly 45,000 people last year.  

Some 50 wounded people have also received care at the Diffa regional hospital and the Bosso integrated health centre, two facilities supported by the ICRC. An ICRC surgical team spent three weeks at the Diffa hospital: working with the surgical department on surgical techniques, monitoring of patients, and treating gunshot wounds.  

"We are very concerned about the number of displaced people arriving in recent weeks and above all about their extreme vulnerability," Mr Petridis said. "Some are wounded, some sick, some have lost contact with their families. Most have been directly affected by the violence and have lost their belongings and their livelihoods."  

More than ever, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement remains poised to come to the aid of people fleeing the violence in north-eastern Nigeria.  

Read more about ICRC work in Niger