The people of northeast Nigeria are about as tough as they come. Their remote region is ground zero for many of the world’s most vexing problems, including an Islamic militant insurgency, crippling poverty, and the devastation wrought by climate change.
Now, the United Nations warns that the area may face a new calamity: famine.
People in the region “are used to coping with extreme hardship, exploiting every and any option they can to keep their families going,” U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday. “But … this suffering has pushed them to the absolute limit ― it is unlike anything they have felt before.” He called it “a humanitarian catastrophe.”
The hunger crisis has been growing since militant group Boko Haram captured swaths of northeast Nigeria in 2014, crippling agriculture and the local economy and displacing more than 2 million people. The insurgency by Boko Haram extremists, who in recent years have killed more people in terror attacks than the Islamic State, has left more than 20,000 people dead.
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