Photography: Guy Calaf for Action Against Hunger, Monguno, Borno, Nigeria
“Boko Haram burned our village down. They left us with only the clothes we are wearing,” said an elderly man Action Against Hunger found living in an abandoned school in the community of Monguno in Borno State in northeast Nigeria. “All our sources of income and livelihood have been taken away from us. We are no beggars here.”
Across northeast Nigeria, as a result of the brutal conflict between military forces and the insurgency group Boko Haram, 2.1 million people have been uprooted by violence and left without shelter, health care, clean water, or food.
In July 2016, a state of emergency was declared in Borno State in northeast Nigeria in response to critical levels of malnutrition and an elevated risk of famine in conflict zones. According to analysis by Action Against Hunger and other experts, 5.2 million are experiencing food shortages as of July 2017. Of those, 59,500 people in parts of Borno State are facing famine conditions, and UNICEF warns that an estimated 244,000 children in Borno are acutely malnourished.
We do not use the word famine lightly: it is a rare and highly technical classification used to categorize only the most extreme, deadly hunger emergencies, which are almost always triggered by war. In response to the threat of famine in Borno, Action Against Hunger was able mobilize immediately thanks to your support.
You play an integral role in our team: Within days, you allowed us to deploy our expert rapid response team and conducted an initial emergency assessment in Monguno, a previously inaccessible area in Borno that had been cut off from humanitarian assistance for almost two years. Within weeks, your support made it possible to launch a comprehensive new emergency program in Monguno — and we began scaling up existing programs in the city of Maiduguri. Within months, we mobilized new emergency interventions in 4 other previously inaccessible areas in Borno, none of which would have been possible without your generosity and compassion.
By April of 2017, your support of our work accounted for 20-25 percent of all the emergency food assistance delivered to the population threatened by famine in northeast Nigeria. Today, our assessments indicate that our interventions have successfully reduced prevalence of acute malnutrition below emergency thresholds in the areas where we have access to people in need. Thank you for making this a reality.