The aid conundrum in northeast Nigeria

Women queue to receive humanitarian aid in Yola, Nigeria. The Boko Haram insurgency has displaced more than a million Nigerians and left some 6 million people in need of humanitarian support. Photo by: Fragkiska Megaloudi

Under the scorching sun, Adama looked exhausted. The 56-year-old mother walked all night to get to St. Theresa’s Catholic Church before dawn. With help from faith-based organizations such as the Adamawa Peace Initiative, the church distributes 25 kilograms of maize and 200 Nigerian naira ($1) every month to displaced Nigerians who have sought refuge in Yola, the capital of northeast Adamawa state.

Adama was one of more than 4,000 women who gathered at the church that day, hoping to receive much-needed assistance that could help their families survive for another month. Up until October 2014, she and her family lived in Michika, a town 232 kilometers north of Yola near the border with Cameroon. That month, Boko Haram militants attacked her village, burning it to the ground; Adama’s husband was killed outside their home. She grabbed some clothes and ran into the bush with her children and other villagers.

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About the author

  • Prof2

    Fragkiska Megaloudi

    For almost two years, Fragkiska lived in Pyongyang and she has published several analysis and reports on the humanitarian situation and daily life in North Korea. She has worked for the U.N. OCHA in the Philippines and IRIN news in Thailand. She has also lived in Jordan and Uganda where she worked for international aid organizations. She holds a doctorate in anthropology from EHESS or the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris and is a former lecturer at the University of Western Australia.