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Foreign agency laments as over 4,000 IDPs in Borno sleep under heavy rain

Foreign agency laments as over 4,000 IDPs in Borno sleep under heavy rain

- A foreign aid agency, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has cried out over the poor living conditions of displaced persons in Dikwa, Borno state

- Cheick Ba, the country director of NRC said that more than 4,000 persons sleep without shelter under heavy rain

- Kachalla Isa, the head of the community said that most schools have been turned into refugee centres due to the massive influx of displaced persons from neighbouring towns

Not less than 4,000 displaced persons in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Dikwa, in Borno state have been reported to be living without shelter over them, while being screened by the Nigerian Army after deserting their communities as a result of violence.

Cheick Ba, the country director, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said: “We’re extremely concerned by the dire living conditions of families in Dikwa who’ve recently fled military operations. Children are sleeping outside with nothing over their heads. With the rains now hitting the area, they risk becoming sick with malaria, diarrhoea or typhoid", Premium Times reports.

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Agencies responsible for aids are deeply worried as many displaced persons arrive the venue daily, after deserting Mallam Kari village in Bama and other surrounding areas, as a result of heated clash between the military and . Before being allowed to settle in refuge towns, new arrivals are put through screening exercises by military officials.

More than 600 displaced persons are currently being kept in an unused roofless gas station as they await screening by the army. Some 4,000 others already screened are being held at a reception centre before being given temporary shelters. But the centre is full to the brink, forcing families to sleep outside. It is common to see up to 15 women cramped in a single room while the men sleep outdoors.

The military reports that it takes an average of two weeks to clear the displaced people. However, in 2017, the same exercise took as long as one year in cases when the army claimed women were wives of Boko Haram terrorists.

Moreover, the presence of new arrivals is a source of pressure on the host community. Kachalla Isa, the head of the community, said: “Our schools have been turned into camps for displaced families and our children can’t access education. This worries me a lot. Only three of the eight schools in Dikwa are functional. Four schools are housing displaced people, while the army is using one as a military base."

So far, the NRC set up 1,300 makeshift houses for the new arrivals, and plans to build more shelters and toilet facilities soon.

The population of Dikwa before now was estimated at 105,000 pre-2014, but with the influx of the displaced persons, it is presently put at 120,000.

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An average of 100 displaced people has arrived in Dikwa every day since April, 2018 as they flee military operations in Ngala, Bama and villages surrounding Dikwa.

Meanwhile, reported that an audio recording sent by one of the midwives abducted during the attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp at Rann, Borno state, had been obtained. The nurse, identified as Hauwa Mohammed, sent the message via Whatsapp as the attack unfolded on Thursday, March 1. gathered that relaying her message in Hausa, she asked that her parents be informed that she was being kidnapped by the insurgents. While running and panting, she stated: “We are under attack in Rann.

They are shooting everywhere, please pray for me; please go and tell my parents that I am in trouble. Please, look for Fatima and tell her they are taking us away. They have entered here now…”

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