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An estimated 1.8 million people remain displaced in Lake Chad area due to persistent conflict

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Nigeria
  • April 2019
An estimated 1.8 million people remain displaced in Lake Chad area due to persistent conflict

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Most households in southern Yobe, northern Adamawa and Borno states worst affected by the insurgency will continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) until September 2019. Populations in hard to reach areas are likely facing similar or worse food security situation relative to adjoining accessible areas. Populations in camps are mainly dependent on humanitarian assistance are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). Population less affected by the conflict are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • Humanitarian actors continue to provide assistance, and reached about 1.5 million people across northeast Nigeria in February, 1.3 million of whom were in Borno state. However, gaps still exist in multisectoral areas for the vulnerable population affected by the insurgency. The recent intense attacks by insurgents leading to substantial displacement of population exacerbates the increasing assistance needs. 

    • Herder/farmer conflict and armed banditry affected households who remain displaced in Zamfara and Katsina states are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September 2019.

    • Most households are consuming own production across the country. They are engaged in normal dry season harvesting, petty trading, and livestock sales to earn income. Others are engaged in unskilled labor work, wild food collection, and seasonal credit to access food and are facing No Acute Food Insecurity (IPC Phase 1) outcome through September 2019.


    The conflict in northeast Nigeria remains fluid, particularly in Monguno, Dikwa, Kukawa, Kala Balge, Damaturu, Gujba, Geidam, Mubi, Michika, Madagali and several other areas in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. The increase of attacks in recent months leading up to the election has resulted in increased population displacement. This has in turn led to overcrowding in places of displacement and increased needs for shelter, food, and non-food commodities.

    An IOM-Emergency Tracking Tool (ETT) report covering April 1 to 7 estimated 2,893 movements during the reporting period, including 2,550 arrivals and 343 departures across Adamawa and Borno states. Most arrivals were recorded in Bama, Gwoza, Jere/MMC, and Mobbar Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Borno state. Within the same period 875 and 184 Nigerian refugees returned from Cameroon and Niger, respectively. The main triggers for the relocation (all displacement) include voluntary relocation, military operations and poor living conditions. Other reasons for relocations are improved security and fear of attacks in their previous locations.

    A recent FEWS NET survey conducted in Dikwa local government during February/March 2019 indicates that a substantial population is still in need of food assistance. The survey covered 600 households and collected 987 Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) measurements of children aged 6 to 59 months old. The Household Hunger Scale (HHS) (Table 1), an experiential indicator of household’s food deprivation, revealed a close to severe level of food deprivation due to limited humanitarian actors’ access to household in Dikwa LGA. Similarly, the Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) is also indicating low household food diversity among the sampled households in Dikwa due to, among other factors, the dependence on humanitarian assistance which includes mainly grains and oils. Thus, sampled households in Dikwa are exhibiting restricted food access and Crisis levels of food insecurity or worse.

    An IOM-ETT nutrition screening conducted by partners between July 2018 and March 2019, which measured 4,473 children who arrived from inaccessible areas found that 30.7 percent were acutely malnourished and 15.8 percent were severely malnourished. In Dikwa alone, 54.6 percent of children screened were severely malnourished. However, the recent FEWS NET MUAC survey in February/March 2019 (Table 2) covering 987 children aged from 6 to 59 months old revealed a GAM prevalence (MUAC) of about 9 percent.

    Similarly, an exhaustive nutrition screening measuring MUAC and Oedema was conducted by Nutrition Sector partners for 354 children of 6-59 months across Bama, Gwoza, Mobbar and Ngala LGAs in Borno state (Table 3). Of the 354 children screened, the MUAC reading was: 5 children (2 from Inaccessible and 3 from accessible area) were in the Severe Acute Malnutrition category, 30 were in the Moderate category and 319 were not showing malnutrition. No case of Oedema was reported.

    A recent report from WHO’s Early Warning, Alert and Response System on measles in Borno state indicated there were over 8,000 cases between January 1 and March 29 across 22 LGAs in Borno state. The highest number of cases were reported in Maiduguri MMC/Jere, Bama and Konduga.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

    Information from the Food Security Sector have indicated that humanitarian actors including WFP, FAO, ACF, CARE, IMC and others have continued to provide assistance across the northeast. In February 2019 about 1.5 million people are reached with food assistance and about 120,000 others were assisted with livelihood and agriculture support across the three northeast states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe. In Borno state over 1.3 million people benefitted from the food assistance while in Yobe and Adamawa states only about 63,000 and 10,000 others benefitted, respectively within the same period. In Adamawa state only vulnerable population in Madagali local government received food assistance. Similarly, over 760,000 people across the three states received food assistance through cash/voucher modalities, mainly in Borno state. However, gaps still exist in most sectoral areas including WASH, nutrition, health, food and livelihoods. Food distribution in Dikwa is not available to all IDPs and the monthly ration distributed are exhausted before the month end. Similarly, land access is also limited, thus, the current dry season crop cycle is having little impact on food availability and income. 

    The farmer/pastoralist conflict and communal conflict in the north central states persists with substantial fatalities, displacement and infrastructure damages. Several communities have their livelihoods impacted recently in Kaduna, Nasarawa and Niger states. Limited access to farming land and harvest theft and destruction are causing crop losses. Herders are also victims of cattle rustling, causing a shift in transhumance areas. Similarly, armed banditry activities in Zamfara and Katsina states also persist, causing fatalities and population displacement. Security operatives are also intensifying their activities in the area. In Katsina state, there are reported incidences of attacks by gunmen on villages and local vigilante militias in early April, leading to several fatalities; while in Zamfara state, the Nigerian air force launched new airstrikes against positions of “bandits”, also causing a substantial number of fatalities.

    In the rest of the country, the dry season harvest is underway. Farmers are engaged in the harvesting of rice, maize, vegetables (onions, tomatoes, pepper), and sugarcane depending on the area. Harvests are average to above average along the major floodplains leading to slight decline in prices of the harvested commodities.

    Staple cereal prices, including maize, millet, and sorghum, indicated mixed trends in April. Prices either remained stable, increased or declined relative to the previous month, depending on the location. Overall, cereal staple prices are lower than last year, and higher than average across most markets. Prices in the northeast markets are following the same trend, however, they are significantly above the five-year average due to the impact of the Boko Haram conflict.

    The month-on-month inflation rate declined slightly to 11.25 percent in March 2019, lower than the 11.31 percent recorded in February of the same year. This is the third consecutive inflationary decline between December and March 2019. The recent inflation rate is also lower than the 13.34 percent recorded in March 2018.


    The assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the February – September 2019 Food Security Outlook remain unchanged.


    During the postharvest period most households will be consuming own production across the country. They will engage in normal livelihood activities including dry season harvest, land preparation, petty trading and livestock sales to earn income and access food. Others will depend on construction labor work, wild food collection and credit to access food, as in a normal year. Thus, these households will be facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcome through September 2019. However, households affected by herder/farmer conflict and armed banditry and who remain displaced, particularly in Zamfara and Katsina states and unable to engage in normal livelihood activities as the main sources of income, such as dry season farming and livestock sales are disrupted. However, migrant workers are able to engage normally in activities like construction work, petty trade and other unskilled labor work. Households will therefore be minimally able to access food and will be experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through September 2019.

    Households that remain displaced in the northeast due to Boko Haram attacks will continue to live in camps or with the host communities. IDPs in camps will have access to humanitarian assistance within the state capital or major towns across the LGAs in the northeast. These individuals have lost their livelihoods and are mainly dependent on humanitarian assistance and will be facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes through September 2019 thanks to humanitarian assistance. However, displaced households who remain within the host communities and lost their livelihood assets are mainly dependent on community support, restricted labor work, petty trade to earn limited income and to access food. Consequently, they will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) through September 2019. Less accessible areas, likely experiencing similar or worse conditions to neighboring, accessible areas, face an increased risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5).

    Figures MUAC Categories in Bama, Gwoza, Mobbar and Ngala

    Figure 1

    Table 3

    Source: IOM-ETT

    Most markets in the Northeast are disrupted or non functioning, as well as trade routes.

    Figure 2

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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