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New effort to assist people displaced by conflict in the Borno region in Nigeria

As hundreds of thousands flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria to seek safety from intensifying conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian military, the IKEA Foundation has given Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) €1 million to provide lifesaving medical assistance.

The conflict in northeastern Nigeria started in 2009. As a result of the fighting, countless families have been forced to flee their homes and have sought safety in overcrowded cities or camps for displaced people. Tragically, many are losing their lives and their loved ones to illness, hunger and violence.

MSF is working tirelessly to help displaced people survive the biggest killers inside the camps: measles, diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition.

The IKEA Foundation is leading the way with a €1 million grant and hopes that other funders will step forward to help MSF save even more lives.

MSF is using the funding to implement a range of health activities for the most vulnerable.

More than 7,500 children under five have been vaccinated against measles and have been provided with emergency food rations. Fourteen per cent of children screened for malnutrition were suffering from the deadliest form of malnutrition and received therapeutic food and treatment. MSF is also providing antenatal care for pregnant women, referring critical patients for hospital care, and is delivering large quantities of clean water.

Shining a light on unseen emergencies

Around the world, MSF gives medical care to thousands of people suffering from emergencies that receive little or no international assistance.

Thanks to a special agreement with the IKEA Foundation signed only a couple of weeks ago, MSF can quickly access grants to help children and their families survive these emergencies.

“When our teams first arrived in Banki in July,” says Hugues Robert, MSF Programme Manager for Nigeria, “we discovered some 25,000 people living in catastrophic conditions in a camp without access to food, water and medical care. The health and humanitarian situation was beyond critical with mortality rates three times above the emergency threshold. Fourteen per cent of the children screened by MSF were suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and nearly one in three children was malnourished. Since then, we have been providing regular assistance in Banki, and we now see an improvement in the health situation. This shows the positive impact of humanitarian aid, although much more remains to be done.”

Bruno Jochum, General Director of MSF, says, "This emergency has not received the kind of international attention it deserves considering the scale of suffering going on. The IKEA Foundation's support of our lifesaving medical action is a recognition that more needs to be done, and fast."

He continues: "Through this grant, the IKEA Foundation is giving a financial boost for our emergency action on the ground and is also working with us to shine a light on this crisis."

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, agrees. “Children and their families have the right to health and protection, which is why the IKEA Foundation is proud to support MSF’s lifesaving services during unseen emergencies and calls on other funders to do the same.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).