Irish Aid has dispatched over 87 tonnes of Irish stocks to assist refugees fleeing from the ongoing conflict between military forces and Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria, through Plan Ireland.
The airlift, which is worth €900,000, includes thousands of blankets, tents, soap, jerry cans and other urgent supplies. Supplies were dispatched from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Accra, Ghana, where Irish Aid pre-positions supplies for use in global emergencies as part of its Rapid Response Initiative.
Boko Haram has been carrying out armed attacks on civilian populations since 2011 and the insurgency gained in strength and brutality in recent months.
The dispatch will be distributed by Plan Ireland in the Minawao refugee camp in Northern Cameroon, assisting thousands of Nigerian refugees. In two days, 16,000 new Nigerian refugees arrived in the area and are now being transferred from the border into the already over-crowded camp. About 70 per cent of these new arrivals are women and children.
Boko Haram has been carrying out armed attacks on civilian populations since 2011 and the insurgency gained in strength and brutality in recent months. The group is seeking to establish an Islamic state with strict adherence to Shariah law in the economically marginalised north-eastern states of Nigeria.
It is estimated that 1.5 million people have been displaced internally within Nigeria and that over 150,000 people have fled to the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Niger and Chad. The latest influx into Northern Cameroon brings the total number of Nigerian refugees there to nearly 66,000.
Announcing the latest dispatch, Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, drew attention to the dire living conditions in Minawao refugee camp. “There is an inadequate supply of water, a severe lack of hygiene items and an urgent need to construct latrines and boreholes. With the onset of the rainy season next month, there are also fears that the refugee population is extremely vulnerable to a cholera outbreak.”
Plan Ireland CEO David Dalton welcomed the continued support from Irish Aid and commented that ” it signalled Irish Aid’s ongoing commitment to Plan Ireland as an organisation and to the people of Cameroon.”