Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has expressed deep sorrow over multiple fire outbreaks which caused deaths of persons at Internally displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Borno State.
The UN in a statement on Sunday sent to The Sun described the recent fire incidents at Monguno IDP camps in the northern part of Borno and Gamboru-Ngala, the twin towns near the Cameroonian border, as devastating.
Fire outbreaks were recorded at Monguno IDP camps on the 14th, 15th and 18th of April, while another incident killed at least 14 at a Gamboru-Ngala IDPs camp.
“My heartfelt sympathy goes to the many vulnerable families who are affected. These are the worst fire incidents recorded in camps for internally displaced persons in the northeast so far this year,” Kallon said.
He said 15 persons were injured in the April 16th Ngala fire, seven still receiving treatment at a clinic run by aid organisations, while over 300 shelters were damaged and a communal shelter hosting 11 families burnt.
“More than 8, 000 people already displaced by the ongoing crisis once again lost their belonging and shelters,” the UN chief disclosed.
He said the UN humanitarian office in Nigeria was concerned fire outbreaks may keep occurring in camps for displaced persons in the area, having experienced at least 15 incidents this year alone. He called for s joint effort to decongest IDP camps, especially with the spread of COVID-19 in many parts of the country.
“I call on all stakeholders to urgently contribute to efforts being made to decongest camps in respect of people’s rights and dignity,” he added.
The eleven years of Boko Haram violence in the northeast states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe has led to the displacement of about three million people, with over 50,000 killed, according to a report by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).