Ongoing fighting in Nigeria’s Borno state has caused years of suffering for people in this northeastern region and pushed many to leave their homes in search of safety. Large numbers of displaced people are living in the town of Pulka, where access to clean water is a major problem.
Water is particularly scarce now, during the dry, hot season that runs from November to May. “Most boreholes are not in working condition. You see a lot of people, sometimes over 1,000, [lining up] to get water, sometimes to get one bucketful of water,” says Mohammed U., who lives in Pulka. Many displaced people are forced to trade scarce food supplies for water with local residents. Some resort to drinking untreated water.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical teams running a hospital in Pulka say the most common disease they see, especially among children, is acute, non-bloody diarrhea—a direct result of the lack of access to clean water. MSF is calling on the organizations providing water and sanitation services here to act urgently to improve the supply of safe drinking water.