Nigeria, action against hunger, hunger crisis borno

Nigeria Crisis

An extreme nutrition emergency has surged behind the frontlines of fighting in northeastern Nigeria. Children in previously inaccessible conflict zones in northeast Nigeria are in urgent need of life-saving treatment for malnutrition.

People we helped in 2015

In northeast Nigeria, conflict between the militant group Boko Haram and government forces has uprooted 2.4 million people from their homes. The Nigerian government declared a food and nutrition emergency in Borno State in northeast Nigeria in late July. Due to recent success in reclaiming areas previously controlled by Boko Haram — we are now getting limited access to displaced people in parts of Borno State for the first time in nearly two years.

Urgent needs

Hundreds of thousands of children in Nigeria risk dying from hunger in northeast Nigeria, but their plight is going unheard. Initial reports indicate that the needs in parts of Borno are extreme. Families have been living without adequate access to safe drinking water, food, shelter and healthcare. 

An estimated 250,000 children in Borno are severely malnourished -- and the lives of 49,000 children are in immediate danger unless they receive immediate life-saving treatment. We are currently conducting rapid needs assessments in newly accessible area of Borno to determine the scale and severity of the crisis. We fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are reports that 600 children arrive at one health clinic alone per day seeking screening for life-threatening malnutrition. Families are drinking stagnant water from contaminated sources and food is scarce. The upcoming rainy season is likely to make things even worse.

We are just starting to get a sense of how bad the situation is in parts of the northeast because, until recently, we have not been able to get into these conflict areas. But we do know that we must respond now, and prepare for a large-scale emergency, because access is opening. History has taught us that ignoring the blatant warning signs and the alarming evidence at hand—even if limited—will lead to nothing but tragedy.” ~ Yannick Pouchalan, Action Against Hunger Country Director in Nigeria.


What we’re doing

We launched a new emergency programme in  August 2016 in newly accessible areas in Monguno in north Borno State and expanded existing programmes in greater Maiduguri in Borno.

To date, our new emergency programme in Monguno has reached 18,000 vulnerable people with essential relief items, food distributions, shelter, mobile health services, emergency treatment for severely malnourished children, and water and sanitation services. 


  • Operating two mobile health clinics are reaching displaced people in three of the nine camps for displaced people in Monguno 
  • Providing emergency therapeutic treatment to acutely malnourished children
  • Providing primary health services to pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under the age of five
  • Conducting door-to-door malnutrition screenings to ensure we reach the most vulnerable children


  • Providing monthly food distributions in six out of the nine camps in Monguno, reaching more than 3,000 displaced families per month. We will continue these monthly food distributions  to the same targeted households over the next six months.
  • Distributed "supplementary food" to 4,518 pregnant women and nursing mothers to prevent acute malnutrition in all 9 camps in Monguno. In December, we will reach 6,578 mothers. 


  • Building 18 blocks of 4 latrines
  • Rehabilitating  22 water sources 
  • Constructing showers 


  • 3,000 emergency hygiene kits 
  • 3,000 emergency shelter kits 
  • 3,000 kitchen sets 

Action Against Hunger has been working in Nigeria since 2010. From 2014 to 2015, we doubled the volume of our operations in response to the crisis, meeting the humanitarian needs of 2.1 million people with health and nutrition programmes; clean water and sanitation to reduce malnutrition and disease; emergency cash transfers to help displaced people purchase food or meet other urgent needs. In 2016, we have scaled up our programmes in Nigeria even further, yet again doubling the volume of our operations to meet rising needs, despite an extremely challenging environment. 

Last updated: 12 December 2016

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Photo credits: © Action Against Hunger Nigeria

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Nigeria crisis, hunger in Nigeria, malnutrition


178.5 million
Undernutrition among children under five
36.4 per cent
Average life expectancy
52.8 years