MSF and ICRC move to quick response to displaced Baga residents

While the globe criticizes world leaders on their lack of addressing human security in Nigeria, it is business as usual for the heroes of Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Although 2 000 people are believed to have been killed (according to Amnesty International, the Nigerian Government notes only 150 died) a confirmed 5 000 survivors of the attack live in a camp in Maiduguri that MSF houses, and aids in food and medical supplies. Other Baga residents who fled into Lake Chad islands and Niger’s Diffa region are nurtured by ICRC, However, supplies run on shortage as resources are poured rationally into different geographical locations.

Prior to this attack, it has been three months of displaced residents receiving assistance from ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross society, numbers triggering to 25 000. These high rising numbers continue to weigh heavily on the availability of resources – as certain areas are riddled with malaria carrying mosquitoes, some still suffering injuries from the attack and health aid needed for pregnant women and children.

Resources aren’t the only uphill battle for MSF, as lack dilapidated infrastructure and the volatile situation in Baga created inaccessibility to the area to search for more survivors, and assess people’s medical and humanitarian needs. It is believed that there are some survivors hiding in bushes in the area – of which authorities have sent a bus to transport survivors to shelter in Maiduguri, where they have a permanent base.

Although the MSF and ICRC are facing large numbers, hope is not lost. Head of MSF programmes in Nigeria Isabelle Mouniaman-Nara, assures that provisions will still be in place. “We will provide support in the areas of child malnutrition, antenatal consultations and deliveries for the many pregnant women in the camp, as well as providing basic healthcare,” she says, adding that the MSF will monitor the situation in the camps and numbers of displaced people, continuously adapting their activities according to their needs.