* UN global emergency fund releases US$31 million to help vulnerable people affected by Boko Haram-related violence in Lake Chad Basin region

United Nations humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien has allocated US$31 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support humanitarian partners in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region, where the humanitarian situation is worsening due to violence perpetrated by Boko Haram.

An estimated 2.7 million people, of whom 1.5 million are children, have been displaced in the region, making it the fastest growing displacement crisis in Africa. People affected by the ongoing crisis are in urgent need of food, drinking water, shelter, health care, protection and education.

CERF funding will provide life-saving assistance to almost 1.7 million affected people in the four countries. Some $10 million will bolster relief efforts in Nigeria, while humanitarian partners in Cameroon, Chad and Niger will receive $7 million each.

“Many people have lost everything. Hundreds of thousands of women and children continue to bear the brunt of the Boko Haram violence,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien. “Saving lives and protecting people in the region is at the centre of the humanitarian response.”

Women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have been subjected to physical and psychological abuse, forced labour, forced marriage and sexual slavery. Boys have been forcibly enrolled as combatants. Humanitarian agencies will use CERF funds to support urgently needed protection assistance including prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence in the four countries.

In Nigeria, CERF funding will also be critical for providing emergency shelter, health care, safe drinking water and sanitation and nutrition for affected people currently living in overcrowded camps, in the North East of the country. In Cameroon, Chad and Niger, CERF support will allow for improved access to shelters, reproductive health care, safe drinking water and sanitation in camps for displaced, host communities and schools.

The affected region also suffers from chronic food insecurity, and under-development. The funds will also be used to provide food, supplementary feeding and nutritional support to people who face severe hunger as insecurity continues to have a negative impact on livelihoods, food security, and nutrition.

“Aid agencies in region have warned that living conditions for the affected people in the region are dire, giving rise to serious protection and health concerns”, Mr. O’Brien said. “The $31 million CERF allocation will provide a much-needed injection of funds for partners to provide for the most basic life sustaining needs in the Lake Chad region.”

The UN’s global humanitarian fund provides immediate funding for life-saving humanitarian action at the onset of emergencies and for neglected crises that have not attracted sufficient funding. Since its inception in 2006, 125 UN Member States and Observers, private-sector donors and regional governments have supported the Fund. To-date, CERF has allocated almost $4.2 billion in support of humanitarian operations in 94 countries and territories.