Violence & Hunger in Nigeria


Conflict, Crisis and Hunger in North-East Nigeria

Ongoing conflict with the militant Islamic group Boko Haram has created a dire humanitarian crisis in northeastern Nigeria. In Borno state, some 244,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, while malnutrition levels in newly-accessible areas in Borno and Yobe states were “extremely critical” with rates ranging from 20 to 50 percent.

Currently, 1.8 million people are displaced from their homes, many of whom live in overcrowded displacement camps with inadequate shelter, drainage, and services. Over 1.4 million of those displaced reside in Borno state, where humanitarian access to desperately vulnerable communities has been severely limited by the ongoing conflict. The instability has also hindered families’ access to food, clean water, and health care. In early July 2016, the Nigerian Minister of Health declared a nutrition emergency in Borno state, where 2.5 million malnourished children under five and breastfeeding mothers require assistance.

As the Nigerian army has recently regained control of some of Boko Haram’s strongholds, many Nigerians who fled are now returning to the devastated villages and towns, and the number of returnees is expected to increase in the coming weeks. According to the government of Nigeria, nearly all health facilities in the newly-accessible areas have been vandalized or completely damaged and require urgent repairs or rehabilitation to improve access and quality of service provision. The most pressing needs are food, potable water, shelter, health, nutrition, and livelihoods.

The insurgency has also spread across Nigeria’s borders. The Lake Chad Basin, which includes Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger, continues to experience violence and displacement, with some 2.6 million people uprooted from their homes across the region. Additionally, 6.3 million people are estimated to be facing severe food insecurity, 478,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

International Medical Corps has worked in Nigeria since 2013 and currently have teams in Sokoto, Kano, and Borno states. In Borno, the epicenter of the crisis in the northeastern corner of Nigeria, our programs include health, nutrition, water and sanitation, gender-based violence prevention and response, and food security. We are also responding to emergency needs of displaced populations in Chad and Cameroon. Our interventions target both communities and health facilities and include training wherever possible so that knowledge and skills remain long after our inventions end.


  • Ongoing conflict with Boko Haram has forced 2.6 million people from their homes in the Lake Chad region (Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger), with 1.8 million people internally displaced in North-East Nigeria.
  • Nearly 480,000 children across the region are suffering severe acute malnutrition—244,000 of them are in Nigeria’s Borno State.
  • Levels of malnutrition recorded in July and August in newly-accessible areas in Nigeria’s Borno and Yobe states revealed an “extremely critical” situation with rates ranging from 20 to 50 percent
  • Two polio cases were reported in Borno state in August, the result of populations living without vaccinations and access to humanitarian assistance because of the insurgency.
  • International Medical Corps is currenly working in Sokoto, Kano, and Borno states. Our programs include emergency health, nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, and protection.


Los Angeles, CA

More on Our Response

In Nigeria, as well as in the surrounding regions of Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, security and humanitarian conditions continue to deteriorate as people flee the violence and conflict fueled by Boko Haram.

In Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe states in Nigeria, an estimated 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 50 percent of those in need are children. As part of our planned scale up in relief efforts in newly accessible areas, International Medical Corps began conducting food voucher distributions in Borno in September. These vouchers help families purchase food while supporting local markets and contributing to dietary diversity. International Medical Corps uses community volunteers to implement immunization interventions especially polio vaccination activities, for children under five years old. Our teams are also responding to nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, and protection needs of conflict-affected communities, including the internally displaced and host community members. To improve the health of moms and babies, we are also upgrading primary health care centers to increase access to antenatal care and safe delivery spaces and working within communities to provide postnatal care.

In Cameroon, International Medical Corps is delivering emergency medical, nutrition, and mental health care services to Nigerian refugees in Minawao camp. International Medical Corps also provides gender-based violence and child protection prevention and response activities for women, girls, and boys in the camp, which is home to some 56,000 Nigerian refugees. International Medical Corps also responds to the needs of Cameroonians displaced by ongoing violence in the Far North Region of the country with medical care, nutrition services, disease surveillance, gender-based violence and protection activities, and water and sanitation.

In Chad, International Medical Corps collaborates with the Ministry of Health to provide health centers with primary health care, maternal health, and nutrition support to over 20 health facilities in the Lac Region, where Boko Haram attacks continue to compromise the well-being of local communities. This includes managing the nutrition stabilization center at Bagasola Hospital and offering medical and nutrition services to Nigerian refugees in in Dar es Salam camp.