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NEW YORK (January 20, 2015) – Children are suffering the dire consequences of the conflict in Nigeria, losing their homes, missing out on education and risking their lives, UNICEF said today.

“The situation has escalated over the past few weeks, becoming a much larger humanitarian crisis,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We need to do everything we can to prevent the spillover effect of the violence in Nigeria on other countries in the region.”

Nearly one million people have fled their homes in Nigeria because of the violence rocking the northern parts of the country, while more than 135,000 have sought refuge in Cameroun, Chad and Niger.

The recent attacks on Baga have led to a fresh wave of refugees—the vast majority women and children—into neighboring countries, leading to a larger humanitarian crisis in the region.

About than 9,000 Nigerian and Chadian returnees have arrived in Chad since the beginning of the month. More than 100 children have arrived without a parent or a caretaker.

In Cameroon, children represent 60 percent of the 25,000 Nigerian refugees living in Minawao camp, in the northern region, where a recent assessment revealed alarming rate of malnutrition among children.

Niger has seen a sharp increase in the number of people seeking refuge in the Diffa region, where women and children make up 70 percent of the 100,000 Nigerian refugees and returnees.

UNICEF is working with partners to provide displaced and refugee children and their families with basic assistance, including safe water, nutrition, health, education and protection services.

  • In Nigeria, more than 65,000 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition. Trained community volunteers reached over 13,000 children with psychological and emotional support. More than 3 million children received vitamin A supplementation.
  • In Cameroon, 10 clean water facilities and 160 latrines were built and 1,300 hygiene kits were distributed. Nutritional screening and treatment is also provided in collaboration with the Red Cross. Four child-friendly spaces have been created, offering support.
  • In Chad, UNICEF is scaling up its presence in the Lake Chad region, with its office in Mao distributing lifesaving supplies such as hygiene kits and therapeutic food as well as blankets, clothing, tents and water. 
  • In Niger, over 96,000 children were vaccinated against measles, from December 28 to January 3, and school capacity is being reinforced to provide additional spaces to refugee and local children.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146,