24 Feb 2017
Orlando Bloom, British actor and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently travelled to Diffa in south-east Niger where he met with children and families displaced by an insurgency led by Boko Haram militants.
The Diffa region currently hosts over 240,000 internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees, including 160,000 children.
Governments are being asked by the UN to help prevent a famine in the Lake Chad Basin which straddles the borders of Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.
Lucy Dean reports.
The uprising by the Boko Haram Islamic militant group began eight years ago and was mainly contained in and around northern Nigeria.
The violence has now spread to three other countries: Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
More than 2.3 million people have been forced out of their homes because of the violent attacks and abductions carried out by Boko Haram, but also because of an ongoing regional military offensive to flush insurgents out of the West African region.
Hundreds and thousands of children across the region are displaced and are at risk of malnutrition.
By going to Niger, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Orlando Bloom hoped to shed light on the gravity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Lake Chad Basin.
As a father, Mr Bloom said, it was hard for him to hear the grim stories about children fleeing on foot and leaving everything behind, including the safety of their homes and classrooms.
Mr Bloom has supported UNICEF since 2007.
Lucy Dean, United Nations.