Africa

Inside Nigeria's internal displacement camps

Published 6:57 AM ET, Wed January 11, 2017
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Nearly 1.8 million people are estimated to live in internal displacement in Nigeria, while some 75 percent live in host communities. Many live for years in camps often run by humanitarian organizations. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
Accessing safe drinking water and toilets is a challenge for those living in camps, where as many as 100 people might share a toilet, according to IOM, whose work involves improving sanitation.
Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
Some of the camps in the northeastern part of the country near the border with Cameroon are home to more than 35,000 people. Often forced to flee their homes in a hurry, some arrive with nothing. Around 90% of internally displaced Nigerians have fled their homes because of the Boko Haram insurgency, according to IOM. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
"We came empty-handed. Boko Haram took all our things, our cattle and our land. People in Maiduguri have given us some things, but still, we are just managing," Ali Yacana, whose family of 15 live in one of the camps, told IOM. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
Families have to line up their cans near a bore hole for their daily water collection. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
Some camps have rehabilitation centers for women who have escaped Boko Haram, which may involve counseling and activities such as pasta-making sessions. Some spent years with the militant group after being abducted from their homes, according to IOM. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
Others pass the time with embroidery. Fatmata (right), 22, was forced to flee at 5am on a Monday morning when Boko Haram attacked her village. "They started shooting guns and killing people. We ran and ran through the bush and on Tuesday, we reached Maiduguri (about 80 km away)," she told IOM. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
After food, household items are in highest demand. Pictured here, IOM staff pack aid parcels to be delivered to displaced families across the northeast. Over the last year their kits have reached 160,000 people, according to the organization. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
The kits include pots, plates, cooking utensils, floor mats, buckets, water purification tablets, soap, reusable sanitary pads, mattresses and blankets. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee
To keep track of the internally displaced people IOM's aid workers use biometrics such as fingerprints. Courtesy IOM/Julia Burpee