A journey to Chibok

A journey to Chibok

17/11/2015

Repeated attacks on civilians from Boko Haram have led to massive displacements and negatively impacted livelihoods in North Eastern Nigeria. Displaced people rely on the limited resources of their host communities, placing the most vulnerable households under extreme pressure.

Beneficiaries

In order to prevent further degradation of the food security situation, FAO and its partners have provided food assistance to settled internally displaced persons (IDPs), host families and home returnees in the three most affected Northeast -States (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe) during the 2015 lean season. The assistance was very critical as many farmers facing critical levels of insecurity, had left their villages just before the 2014 harvest.

Reverend Titus Pona, Head of the Good Way Mission, one of FAO's implementing partners in Borno State, adds on the context of the intervention in Chibok: “People have been suffering a lot here. In April 2014, the insurgents took away our girls and while 57 have managed to escape, we still have  no news from the others. I personally know relatives of these 219 missing girls and it’s very, very difficult.” 

Despite this context and reduced access to the remote area, the Good Way Mission met the challenge of reaching the crisis-hit communities. Rev. Pona tells the story of one of the aid convoys’ journey from Maiduguri to Chibok: ‘On the first day, we saw nobody along the road, nothing apart from empty shelves of bullets. The area has been deserted, nobody lives there anymore. The trip was sometimes stressful and we could feel the danger, as the road is very close to the Sambisa forest’.

The convoy, which included three trucks of food under military escort, continued on its way on dirt and sandy road the following day. ‘The trucks got stuck in the mud several times. In the end we had to leave them and find pick-ups, and it took us three more days and about 200 trips to carry the food from where the trucks had to stop to Chibok with these smaller cars, can you imagine?’

After a five-day trip to achieve a distance of 133 km, much needed food products were finally delivered in Chibok. It was with great relief that women heads of household, lactating women, mothers with young children, disabled and elderly IDPs collected their food baskets, each of them containing bags of rice, maize, oil, sugar, among other items. A total of 1000 households, including the families of the abducted girls, have benefited from this assistance seized to meet their food needs through monthly food basket distributions during the lean season.

The FAO Representative in Nigeria, Ms Louise Setshwaelo said “even with security and logistical challenges we faced, it is heartwarming to know that with this support, we have been able to provide some relief to families facing a very difficult food security situation”.

Reverend Pona also expresses his satisfaction after overcoming such difficulties: ‘I am really happy that we made it, and it’s moving to see these people getting enough to eat! This assistance directly alleviates the people’s suffering. We need to continue to help communities in remote areas like Chibok as far as access remains possible, because the needs remain huge’.

Indeed even if about 70 percent of IDPs have returned to Chibok, most of them have settled in the city as the fear of repeated attacks and lootings is still preventing them to return to their fields.

FAO is providing humanitarian assistance in the three most affected States, including food assistance in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States to 6 475 households thanks to the support of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund(CERF).

FAO’s response also includes provision of agricultural inputs to support production as well as livelihood-based interventions to allow for a transition from emergency support to relief and development. Coordination of the food security sector and food security analysis are also at the core of FAO’s interventions.

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