No fewer than 650,000 persons have been displaced from their homes, in several attacks orchestrated by the outlawed Boko Haram sect, the United Nations humanitarian office said on Tuesday.
According to a report by the UN refugee agency, (UNHCR), about 1,000 people trying to escape the fighting had fled to an uninhabited island on Lake Chad, across Nigeria’s northeastern border.
“The group, mainly women and children, is in urgent need of food, water, shelter and medical care”, the UNHCR said.
They reached the remote island of Choua on Thursday after fleeing a Boko Haram attack in their hometown of Kolikolia, according to the refugee agency.
The refugee agency said it was sending staff to the area to coordinate the relief effort.
Thousands have fled over Nigeria’s borders into Cameroon, Chad and Niger seeking refuge from Boko Haram’s relentless violence, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians this year and left scores of villages destroyed.
The report said 436,608 people have been displaced in the three states- Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which were placed under emergency rule in May 2013.
The agency put the IDP figure at 250,000 in May this year.
Another 210,085 have fled their homes in areas neighbouring the state of emergency zone, bringing the total number of people displaced by Boko Haram unrest to nearly 650,000, it reported.