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Emergency (IPC Phase 4) expected for worst-affected areas of northeast Nigeria

  • Alert
  • Nigeria
  • June 25, 2015
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) expected for worst-affected areas of northeast Nigeria

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  • Summary
  • Situation

  • Summary

    In May, FEWS NET conducted a second round of assessments to areas of northeast Nigeria worst impacted by the continuing Boko Haram conflict. The findings largely corroborate previous analysis indicating that there will be a food security Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in worst-affected areas between July and September. In the absence of increased, well-targeted humanitarian assistance, approximately 3.5 million people in northeast Nigeria, as well as a further 400,000 people in neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, will experience significant difficulty meeting their basic food needs during those months. Urgent humanitarian assistance and increased physical access to food insecure populations are needed to avert this food security Emergency.


    As of April, Boko Haram conflict had contributed to the displacement of more than 1.4 million people within Nigeria. Estimates suggest an additional 250,000 people have been displaced to Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. An expected 80-85% of households have fled areas worst-affected by conflict, and those that do remain are not able to farm at typical levels. Off-season harvests came in well-below average once again this spring. Currently, households are participating minimally in land preparation and planting activities for the main agricultural season. Additionally, seasonal forecasts are warning of a poor 2015 rainy season in northeast Nigeria. For the third consecutive year, the main season harvest, which begins in October, is expected to be well below average.

    Market activities in the Lake Chad region continue to be disrupted by the conflict. In May, major trade routes in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa remained restricted, affecting food availability on markets. With significant ongoing population displacement and reduced purchasing power among those who have remained, effective demand on markets is down. Reduced activity is also seen on markets indirectly impacted by conflict through decreased economic activity in the Lake Chad region (Figure 1). In Maiduguri, staple food prices remain high, where in May millet was selling for 70 NGN/kg versus 54 NGN/kg in Kano and Gombe. During the May assessment, similar or higher staple food prices were also observed in Biu, Chibok, Damboa, Kaga, Konduga, Maiduguri, and Mubi. In the absence of typical income sources, households face difficult market access at a time when food prices are high.

    In worst-affected areas in eastern Yobe, central and eastern Borno, northern Adamawa, as well as IDP settlements in greater Maiduguri, access to livelihoods is significantly limited. They are expected to experience the worst food security outcomes in northeast Nigeria, Emergency (IPC Phase 4), as food security conditions have deteriorated over the last several months. Most displaced households rely heavily on incomes from casual labor and petty trade, as well as community assistance, which is already strained. While representative survey data remains limited, available screening data from the northeast suggests that levels of acute malnutrition are elevated. A screening conducted by Action Against Hunger (ACF) in greater Maiduguri in late March found 29.5% of children 6-59 months of age to be acutely malnourished (MUAC <125 mm). Although some humanitarian assistance is being delivered in urban areas, physical access to rural households remains limited.

    Acute food insecurity is expected to peak between July and September, with nearly 4 million people in the Lake Chad region in need of urgent, well-targeted assistance in order to mitigate the expected food consumption gaps for affected populations. In the absence of humanitarian assistance, worst-affected areas will experience Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity as a large proportion of households in these areas face greater food consumption gaps and higher risks for malnutrition and excess mortality. Continued assistance and greater access to affected populations will still be needed after September to assist IDP and resident households in meeting their basic food needs.

    Figures Figure 1. Week of June 15, 2015 market activity, May 2015 trade route functioning, and 2015 fatal attacks

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: Conflict data source: ACLED; Market activity source: FEWS NET

    FEWS NET will publish an Alert to highlight a current or anticipated shock expected to drive a sharp deterioration in food security, such that a humanitarian food assistance response is imminently needed.

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