Thousands of Nigerian Refugees Fleeing Boko Haram in Dire Health Situation

By Alexandra KrauskaRabat – Medicins Sans Frontieres reported Thursday that almost 200 Nigerian refugees have died from starvation and malnutrition in the past month while in the Bama refugee camp.MSF has been unable to access the Nigerian refugee camp previously, but travelled there with a military escort. Many children in the camp were diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition and sent to an MSF feeding center. The refugees were fleeing from Boko Haram, the terrorist organization that recently joined ISIS and now calls itself the ISIS of West Africa. “Boko Haram” means “Western education is prohibited,” in Hausa, the local language. The group claimed an area in northeast Nigeria as its “caliphate.” In the 7 years of the rebellion, around 20,000 people have been killed, and more than 2 million people have been displaced. Boko Haram is also responsible for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in 2014.24,000 refugees have arrived at the refugee camp in Bama, though this camp is difficult for MSF or Nigerian authorities to access. Almost 1,200 people were evacuated from June 13th to 15th in order to receive medical care. Many of the refugees remain in a “dire situation.”The MSF head of mission in Nigeria, Ghada Hatim, said, “This is the first time MSF has been able to access Bama, but we already know the needs of the people there are beyond critical. We are treating malnourished children in medical facilities in Maiduguri and see the trauma on the faces of our patients who have witnessed and survived many horrors.”

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