45.000 people currently live in the camp for internally displaced people in Ngala. The camp is near the border with Cameroon and people have fled there due to violence from Boko Haram and military operations ongoing in the area.
The security situation is volatile and people continue to flee their homes. Newly displaced arrive in Ngala on a regular basis. Many have been victims of extreme violence and have lost family members or have been separated from their loved ones. They are very vulnerable and many come empty handed. In the camp they are totally dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive.
Mallan Ibrahim Kana, 43 years comes from a village 15 kms from Ngala. He fled twice before reaching Ngala camp....
' I arrived here with my family yesterday after walking for four days. We first left our village because of Boko Haram. For the past three years, there has been a lot of trouble. Boko Haram were outside our village and came to take our food and belongings. They took what we farmed and fished. They told us we could not go out at night. Many men have been killed in the village. We thought the military would come and bring security but it didn’t happen. Sometimes we heard planes dropping bombs outside of our village. I know people were injured in these bombings nearby. There was also fighting going on outside and we could not leave for fear of being caught up in the middle.
Life was very difficult and many people were sick and died. There is no hospital there and we could not go anywhere else. Most of the people in our village have fled. Many of them are here. We left empty handed and we have nothing.'
The rainy season has started, and when it rains, the camp becomes flooded with water. People have to wade through mud and dirty water and the shelters get inundated. Dirty water also fills latrine holes and spreads into the camp. MSF fears this could lead to further outbreaks of disease. A Hepatitis E outbreak has already been confirmed, but there is a clear risk of other waterborne diseases such as cholera given the poor sanitary conditions in the camp.
MSF first started providing healthcare in Ngala in October 2016, with teams crossing into Nigeria from Cameroon on a regular basis. The security situation made it very challenging for MSF teams to deliver aid. The security situation is still volatile but MSF now runs a hospital in Ngala and a permanent medical team provides health services in the camp.
* Main picture: MSF teams provide medical care to internally displaced living in Ngala camp. © Sylvain Cherkaoui/COSMOS