ICRC urges urgent attention to human tragedy in Lake Chad region

ICRC urges urgent attention to human tragedy in Lake Chad region

Saturday, October 15, 2016 5:42 pm

Some displaced persons from Boko Haram hit areas of Nigeria in a UN camp

Some displaced persons from Boko Haram hit areas of Nigeria in a UN camp

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has urged the international community to urgently address “vast human tragedy” around the world, especially in Lake Chad Region.

The President of the group, Mr Peter Maurer, according to statement by its Media Unit in Abuja Office on Saturday, made the call at the completion of a two-day mission to Niger Republic.

Maurer called for more sustained and long-term international efforts to address the massive needs in the four countries affected by violence at the Lake Chad area.

He expressed concern over the deplorable condition of no fewer than 30, 000 displaced people in Garin Wanzam village in Diffa Region in Niger.

He said that the displaced persons, who were dependent on humanitarian aids, were still fearful of returning home.

“The village of Garin Wanzam is just one example of the vast human tragedy playing out across the entire Lake Chad region, where some 2.6 million people have been driven from their homes.

“And, over six million people are caught up in a daily struggle to put food on the table,” Maurer said.

He, therefore, called on all parties involved in the regional conflict to protect and respect civilians, detainees and the wounded, as per their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.

“The sheer scale of the suffering here is unimaginable. War has rained chaos on millions of lives, separating families, lack of access to food, destroying water, education, shelter and health care.

“The scourge of sexual violence has left dreadful physical and psychological scars.

“Many people are stigmatised and met with distrust when they return to their communities, creating yet more division,” Maurer said.

He underlined ICRC’s willingness to continue supporting the people of Niger through its humanitarian programmes, and pledged that ICRC would strengthen humanitarian services in places of detention.

“Humanitarian aid cannot address the underlying grievances driving this conflict, while a military response alone cannot bring solution.

“To turn around the lives of millions of people in the Lake Chad region, we need to see greater commitment and concerted engagement from political leaders and the community.

“Governments in the region need enhanced international support,” Maurer stressed.

The statement said that Maurer met President of Niger, Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, and other government officials where they discussed the humanitarian situation of people affected by the violence.

The officials also discussed ways to improve the economic security of the people and protect them from the brunt of the conflict. (NAN)

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