The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has expressed his sympathy to those affected by a fire outbreak in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Monguno town, Borno State.

In a statement issued on Friday, Kallon said nearly 8,000 IDPs who are residents of the camp were affected by the incident.

According to him, the fire started in a family cooking area in front of a shelter made of straw, bamboo and plastic sheeting, and swept through the Stadium Camp.

It was said to have razed over 900 temporary shelters and claimed the lives of at least three people, including two children and one elderly woman.

“The impact of the fire outbreak on the already fragile lives of thousands of vulnerable women, children and men is tragic. The United Nations and our partners extend our condolences to the families of the people who died and our deepest sympathies to the victims of the fire,” said Mr. Kallon.

“The humanitarian community stands in solidarity with those affected. It is imperative to immediately identify additional land to build new shelters for the displaced people and decongest the existing camps.”

Many of the internally displaced people in Stadium Camp had fled Baga town, on the shores of Lake Chad, at the end of December 2018, following clashes between the military and non-state armed groups.

According to Kallon, this massive influx of people, all in need of shelter, food and other humanitarian assistance, has stretched the capacity of camps in Monguno, leading to congestion.

This congestion heightens the risk of fire outbreaks with makeshift and temporary shelters built too closely together in the confined spaces.

He, however, noted that humanitarian actors, in support of the Federal Government, are working to identify additional land for the construction of shelters to accommodate the displaced people and mitigate fire hazards.

According to him, awareness campaigns are also being done to inform people living in the camps on ways to prevent fire outbreaks.

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