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Eight-year-old girl dies in Muna camp inferno

4 March 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes

More than 1,000 are homeless and have nothing to eat after fire sweeps through Muna internally displaced persons’ camp in Maiduguri

An eight-year-old girl has died in a fire that ripped through the Muna internally displaced persons’ camp in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Saturday, March 2.

More than 1,000 displaced persons remain homeless after the fire destroyed houses and property, including a tricycle (Keke Napep), food, clothes, mattresses and cash.

This was the third fire in the camp this year.

The displaced people urgently need humanitarian aid.

Lawan Bulama Abatcha, head of Muna camp, told RNI that the fire broke out on Saturday at about 9am.

He said it was not clear yet what caused the fire but it was suspected that it started when a kerosene stove was left unattended.

“There was a very strong wind blowing. The fire began at one of the houses but quickly spread to other houses. It just swept through the camp. Most of the houses – made of thatch or tent material – went up in smoke in a short time.

“It is estimated that more than 1,000 houses were destroyed even though the fire brigade arrived soon after the outbreak and managed to douse the fire.

“March has only just begun and this is the third fire that has broken out at Muna this year. It is the worst and most destructive so far.

“We are appealing to the Borno State government and humanitarian agencies to assist victims of the fire.

“The residents were displaced during the insurgency. Now they have lost everything again. More than 1,000 have lost their shelters and all their possessions. They urgently need help.”

Victims of the fire told RNI that they were pleading with the Borno State government, humanitarian aid agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and philanthropists in the city for help.

Falmata Malumbe said she had lost everything.

“An eight-year-old girl died in the fire. She was trying to save some of her mother’s valuables. It is tragic. Her mother is inconsolate.

“Many of us lost everything we owned. My children and I were left with nothing but the clothes we are wearing. We are begging the government and NGOs to give us food. We also need clothes and mattresses.”

Ba Mallum Bakama also lost everything he owned in the fire.

“Maize and soup ingredients are gone. All our possessions are gone. I struggle to earn money for my family. We did not have much before the fire and now we are homeless with no food and no clothes. It’s a disaster.”

“Our shelters, clothes and food were destroyed. Life was difficult even before the fire. Everything is so expensive. Now we have nothing left,” said Nana Baba Gana.

“Ramadan is beginning next week and we have nothing. Please, I am begging the government for help.”

Nana urged the government and NGOs to set up a committee to distribute humanitarian aid to victims of the fire.

“Committee members will ensure that aid is distributed fairly and that it will be given to those who need it. In the past when aid was distributed, it was often given to those who did not need it. The wrong people benefited.”

Ashe Shuwa said food was desperately needed.

“Most of the children in the camp are hungry. There was not enough food before the fire. Now we have lost the little we had. I have nothing to give my children. They are starving. Unless we get food soon, my children will get sick and die. Please tell the government that our lives are at stake. We have nothing left, nothing at all.”



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