Suspected cholera cases have jumped in northeast Nigeria where Boko Haram violence has forced tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in crowded camps, the Norwegian Refugee Council said Monday.
The humanitarian group said 10,000 people have been affected by the fast-spreading cholera outbreak and 175 people have died in the northeast states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe as of early November 2018.
“One of the major causes of the outbreak is the congestion in the camps that makes it difficult to provide adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services,” said Janet Cherono, the NRC’s programme manager in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.
“The rainy season has also worsened the conditions. If more land is not urgently provided for camp decongestion and construction of health and sanitation facilities, Nigeria is steering towards yet another cholera outbreak in 2019.”
Nigeria has seen regular cholera outbreaks since Boko Haram took up arms against the government in 2009.
More than 1.8 million people have been displaced by the bloody conflict, which has claimed more than 27,000 lives and shattered daily life in the Lake Chad region.
Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, is housing 243,000 displaced people in crowded camps with poor hygiene facilities, creating a fertile environment for cholera to spread, the NRC said.
Cholera is caused by a bacterium transmitted through contaminated food or drinking water. It causes acute diarrhoea, with children particularly at risk.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, suffers from a high-rate of water-borne diseases as a result of dilapidated infrastructure and under-investment.
On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari declared a “state of emergency” in the country’s water sanitation sector, describing the statistics on open defecation and access to piped water as “disturbing”. Source: ACSS
Hundreds Flee After Boko Haram Raid In North East Nigeria
Hundreds of villagers fled their homes in Nigeria’s northeast late on Saturday after an attack by Islamist militants from the Boko Haram group, militia officials and witnesses said.
The raid highlighted fragile security in Nigeria’s northeast, where the army is still battling to end a conflict that erupted in 2009.
“One disabled person was allegedly killed while 65 houses were burnt, 200 cows and 300 flock of sheep and goats were carted away,” the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
“Injured victims have been provided with first aid and humanitarian needs assessment is being conducted to enable the mobilisation of immediate relief assistance,” it said.
Militants arrived in trucks in Jimmi, 5km from Maiduguri city, and opened fire, setting homes ablaze and also attacking an informal refugee camp.
“Boko Haram terrorists this evening attacked Jimmi village,” militia leader in Maiduguri Musa Ari said. “They burnt homes in Jimmi and tents in the camp.”
Military authorities scrambled reinforcements and fighter jets to repel the attack, said militia leader Ibrahim Liman.
Panicked villagers from the area fled to nearby Maiduguri, capital of Borno state which along with neighbouring Yobe state has been at the centre of the jihadist insurgency.
“We left our village to escape Boko Haram who attacked our neighbours in Jimmi,” said Bale-Shuwa village resident Suleiman Balarabe.
He said villagers saw military jets flying overhead towards Jimmi.
“The sounds of guns coming from Jimmi terrified us and made us leave our homes because we were afraid they were going to attack our neighbourhood,” said Sanda Gini, a resident of Jiddari-Polo area on the outskirts of Maiduguri.
In April, scores of Boko Haram fighters launched a gun and suicide attack on Jiddari-Polo when they advanced on Giwa barracks where hundreds of their militant comrades are being detained.
Insurgents fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades at troops before they were repelled with aerial support.
Despite government insistence Boko Haram jihadists are near defeat, in recent months the militant group has carried out major attacks on military targets, killing dozens.
Boko Haram’s nine-year conflict has killed an estimated 27,000 people and displaced two million, creating a humanitarian crisis and spilling into Nigeria’s northern neighbours. – Source:AFP
Pope Francis To Visit Morocco In March
Pope Francis is going to Morocco in March in what is expected to be a heavy year of foreign travel for the 81-year-old pontiff.
The Vatican on Tuesday confirmed the March 30-31 visit to Rabat and Casablanca.
Previously, there were rumors that Francis would travel to Marrakesh next month to participate in the adoption of a new U.N. global compact on migration.
The March visit is likely to feature migration, as well as touch on relations between Christians and Muslims.
Francis has several trips under consideration for 2019, though Morocco is the first to be confirmed.
He is expected in Panama in January for World Youth Day. In addition, he has said he hopes to visit Japan, while a Madagascar cardinal says he’s expected next year. – Source: AP