The world needs to pay attention to the "major humanitarian crisis" that is unfolding in Africa's Lake Chad Basin, UNICEF warned.
Ahead of a U.N. summit on refugees in September, UNICEF reported that 2.6 million people, 1.4 million of them children, have been displaced; thousands of children have suffered "unimaginable violence and abuse," and lost their families and homes; and thousands of children have been forcibly recruited by armed groups and used to carry out attacks. Some 2.2 million people – over half of them children – are also feared to be trapped in areas under the control of Boko Haram.
Moreover, nearly half a million children are expected to suffer from malnutrition this year and tens of thousands will die without treatment.
The world needs to step up efforts to help those in Lake Chad Basin, which includes parts of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, UNICEF urged in its "Children Left Behind" report.
Conflict, mainly instigated by terrorist group Boko Haram, along with poverty and climate change have contributed to the humanitarian crisis, UNICEF reported.
"The Lake Chad crisis is a children's crisis that should rank high on the global migration and displacement agenda. It is one of the world's most neglected crises, and the children's voices must be heard," UNICEF stated in its report.
The crisis remains underfunded while the needs of children and families continue to grow.
UNICEF said it had only received 13 percent of the $308 million it needed to provide assistance to families affected by Boko Haram. It called for donors to step up to reduce that deficit.