Urgent Need for Food in Area Hard Hit by Boko Haram

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American University of Nigeria in need of funding to address the humanitarian crisis in northeastern Nigeria and provide food aid to 200,000 internally displaced people.

The American University of Nigeria (AUN), which has been providing humanitarian aid to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yola in northeastern Nigeria, is asking for urgent funding to continue its basic but critical food distribution activities in 2016. The International Organization for Migration estimates over 2.1 million Nigerians have been displaced by the six-year insurgency by Boko Haram. Approximately half of the displaced are children.
“We have an estimated 200,000 IDPs in Yola and more are arriving daily. No one else is distributing food here,” said Dr. Margee Ensign, AUN president, “If we don’t do this, then who will? We are running out of funding and will run out of food in January.”
Five refugee camps, which close at the end of the year, receive relief from the Nigerian government and the international NGO community. However, the vast majority (up to 98%) of Nigerian IDPs do not live in camps. They shelter with extended family instead and will only live in camps as a last resort. As many as 50 IDPs can be sheltering with a single family, most of which are impoverished themselves. The grace and generosity of Nigerian culture means that the crisis is unfolding deep within the already strained host communities.

AUN and the AUN-led Adamawa Peace Initiative have been providing humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands of IDPs sheltering in Yola and northern Adamawa since March 2014. At the height of the crisis in spring 2015, AUN was providing aid to more than 275,000 people. Many of the IDPs returned to their cities and villages in the north last spring only to find their homes, schools, medical facilities and other essential buildings and infrastructure destroyed by Boko Haram. This combined with heavy flooding and an increase in Boko Haram attacks over the summer months forced many to return to Yola and other places where violence is less prevalent. Tens of thousands of refugees have also been returned to Nigeria from Cameroon. As of December 2015, there are approximately 200,000 IDPs in the Yola area.

AUN is seeking partnerships with companies, NGOs and foundations that can donate or provide funding for urgent basic aid. Corporate and individual donations can be made directly to the AUN Foundation, a U.S.-based 501(c)3 nonprofit, at http://www.aunf.org.

-- Conover + Gould Strategic Communications is sending this information on behalf of the American University of Nigeria. Additional information is on file with the Department of Justice, Washington, District of Columbia. --

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Minna Lehtinen
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