On Thursday, the United Nations said that at least 1.4 million people uprooted by Boko Haram’s insurgency in Northeast Nigeria are living in ‘cholera hotspots’, and are prey to an outbreak of the deadly disease which is sweeping through camps for the displaced. According to the U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF), an estimated 28 people have died from cholera in the conflict-hit region, while about 837 are suspected to have been infected with the disease, including at least 145 children under the age of five.
The first outbreak incidence was identified last week in the Muna Garage camp in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, which is the heart of jihadist group Boko Haram’s brutal eight-year campaign to carve out an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.
About 1.8 million people have abandoned their homes because of violence or food shortages, U.N. agencies say, and many live in camps for the displaced throughout Northeast Nigeria.
Several aid agencies last month told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that Nigeria’s rainy season could spread disease in already unsanitary displacement camps, and 350,000 uprooted children aged under five are at risk of cholera, UNICEF said.
“Cholera is difficult for young children to withstand at any time, but becomes a crisis for survival when their resilience is already weakened by malnutrition, malaria and other waterborne diseases,” UNICEF’s Pernille Ironside said in a statement.
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