July and August were marked by constant cross-border movements including an influx of refugees returning from neighbouring countries and persistent attacks by non-state armed groups (NSAG) targeting civilian locations, including IDP camps, particularly in Borno State.
The socio-economic impacts of the crisis have become predominant for IDPs and are a factor for displacement. Movement and activity restrictions imposed to reduce COVID-19 propagation risks, have exacerbated the vulnerability of affected populations, making access to services more challenging. The reduced access to livelihoods impacts household dynamics and there were reports of resources being denied to family members and rising tensions, especially where men heading households find themselves enfeebled and unable to provide for families.
With the rainy season approaching its peak, flooding from heavy downpours are causing severe destruction and damages to shelters and WASH facilities, loss of food and NFIs across locations in the BAY states, exacerbating camp congestion and lack of shelters and leading to protection challenges. Similar protection issues have been raised regarding access to firewood and safe energy particularly for women and girls who walk away from safe perimeters to collect wood sticks.
The Protection Sector compiled a detailed report on the prevailing protection environment across the BAY states, particularly the status of the Centrality of Protection (CoP) strategy, which was presented and endorsed by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT). The Protection Sector also gave a briefing to the HCT on the impacts of COVID-19.
The Sector assessed the impacts of the ongoing rainy season in select LGAs in Borno State. At the end of June, around 2,400 shelters had been reportedly damaged due to flooding and windstorm, affecting over 2,500 households and more than 12,000 individuals, with two children who reportedly drowned in Dikwa LGA. Protection Sector North-East (PSNE) shared the rainy season guidance note and actions with partners for stronger community engagement and to support resilience of vulnerable camps and communities.
PSNE, with support of Protection Sector Working Group (PSWG) partners assessed the challenges and protection concerns related to the use and lack of access to firewood among affected populations. Initial reports indicate almost 90 per cent of people depend on firewood and protection concerns include forced labour, negative coping mechanisms including transactional sex, trading off food items to access firewood, and security issues including killing and abduction of IDPs. Recommendations were made to address key issues, while PSNE is advocating with the civil-military coordination regarding alleged forced labour and extortion of affected populations by military personnel.
The ongoing rainy season causes severe damages and destruction of critical facilities, including shelters and WASH installations, and impedes access to people in need as many roads are impassible.
There is an increasing demand for food and NFIs across locations in the BAY states, and the displacements require close monitoring and screening.
The unilateral decision of Borno State government to relocate IDPs to Kukuwa from Monguno LGA, and NSAG attacks in following days, require high-level engagements to advocate for a principled approach to relocations.