U.N. seeks $174 mln to support refugees fleeing Boko Haram




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DAKAR – The United Nations launched an appeal on Thursday to raise slightly over $174 million to support who have fled to Chad, Niger and Cameroon to escape northern ’s Haram Islamist insurgency.

Haram fighters have killed thousands their six-year bid to create an Islamist emirate northeastern .

Though a military campaign by and its neighbours has driven Haram out many positions it previously held, the U.N. still expects refugee numbers to rise from 192,000 to 240,000 by the end this year.

The , some whom walked or even swam long distances to escape the violence, are spread out across the countries bordering Lake Chad a mostly arid zone encompasses some the poorest regions the world.

Most of them are sheltering with local residents, rather than refugee camps, partly out of fear of becoming targets for cross-border reprisal .[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]

“Boko Haram has been so vicious in targeting civilians there is a psychosis among the ,” said Robert Piper, the U.N.’s Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel region.

“But this means they are spread out and logistically it is much more difficult to reach them,” he said.

 

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The 23 UN agencies and NGOs involved in the support plan each drew their cost estimates, which came to a combined $174.4 million.

In addition to the refugees, there are more than 1.1 million within Nigeria by Boko Haram, the U.N. says.