While the world remembers “Bring Back Our Girls,” it has yet to awaken to this looming tragedy. Says UNICEF's chief of nutrition in Nigeria: “We haven’t found the right words to describe the magnitude of the problem.”
The Boko Haram insurgency has affected millions of families across West Africa’s Lake Chad region. Children have been abducted, killed, even used as suicide bombers. Entire villages have been left without electricity, clean water, health care, schools — or simply burned to the ground.
But malnutrition may be Boko Haram’s most terrible legacy, among the 2.6 million people — more than half children — who have fled the brutal violence (within Nigeria and to Cameroon, Chad and Niger) and those who remain in areas where Boko Haram is still active.
Delivering aid is extremely challenging, and humanitarian workers continue to discover the depth of need. People cut off from agriculture and trade, jammed into crowded camps, or living as guests in some of the world's poorest communities are struggling to remain alive.
More than 450,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year. In northeast Nigeria’s Borno state alone, an estimated 49,000 children will die if they do not receive treatment. They need our assistance now.