UNICEF: Over 1.4 million children forced to flee conflict in Nigeria and region

NNA – A sharp increase in attacks by the armed group commonly known as Boko Haram has uprooted 500,000 children over the past five months, bringing the total number of children on the run in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring countries to 1.4 million, UNICEF said today.

“Each of these children running for their lives is a childhood cut short,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “It’s truly alarming to see that children and women continue to be killed, abducted and used to carry bombs.”

In northern Nigeria alone, nearly 1.2 million children – over half of them under 5 years old – have been forced to flee their homes. An additional 265,000 children have been uprooted in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Together with governments and partners in all four affected countries, UNICEF has scaled up its lifesaving operations to thousands of children and their families affected by the violence.

“With more refugees and not enough resources, our ability to deliver lifesaving assistance on the ground is now seriously compromised,” said Fontaine. “Without additional support, hundreds of thousands of children in need will lack access to basic health care, safe drinking water and education.” — UNICEF