Nigeria: Fleeing Boko Haram
Originally published on IBTimes.com March 11 2015.
YOLA, Nigeria -- More than a million Nigerians have fled Boko Haram violence in the country’s northeast, and at least 200,000 have settled in this city. As the militant group continues its deadly campaign in the region, these internally displaced people (IDPs) are forced to escape their hometowns and seek shelter and safety elsewhere, even if it means walking for days on end. It has fast become a humanitarian crisis.
Among them are farmers, teachers and lawyers. They are average people, many of whom had once opened their own home to others fleeing the attacks, only to be forced to leave days later under another attack. Fearing the conditions and security at government camps, the majority of people stay with friends or distant relatives. Some locals have hosted dozens of people in single-family homes for months at a time. Others have created their own informal camps in vacant buildings.
In the meantime, the displaced people try to get work if they can, and do their best to send children to school and keep the family fed. Local aid groups have been trying to fill the gap in resources, but supplies are quickly running out. The IDPs look forward to the day when they can return to their hometown and start rebuilding. But for now, all they can do is wait.