The United Nations has urged more donations to satisfy the humanitarian needs of people affected by Boko Haram militancy, warning that the world’s worst humanitarian crisis awaits the Lake Chad Basin if enough is not done.
“I have worked in Darfur,” Toby Lanzer, the UN assistant secretary general, said on Friday, referring to the conflict-ridden Sudanese region, adding, “The scale and the depth of suffering that I have seen (in Nigeria) is unparalleled in my experience.”
Boko Haram started its campaign in 2009 with the aim of toppling the Nigerian government. The Takfiri terrorist group later expanded its activities to the neighboring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The UN has appealed for $739 million to meet the urgent needs across the Lake Chad Basin but has received only $197 million.
“If we don’t engage in a much more comprehensive manner, including scaling up our emergency relief programs, what awaits us down the line is the biggest crisis facing any of us, anywhere,” Lanzer said.
The UN official said over nine million people in the region were in “desperate” need of aid, warning that 65,000 people were living in “famine-like conditions.”
There is no UN announcement of famine in the region but the international organization said that about 80,000 children there could starve to death if they did not get food aid within the next year.
Lanzer added that the catastrophe in Nigeria was incomparable “anywhere except that of Syria.” He also warned that Lake Chad Basin could even overtake Syria in terms of the scale of the needs.
Boko Haram terrorists have so far killed more than 20,000 people and forced over 2.7 million others from their homes. The group has pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorists operating mainly in Syria and Iraq.