How the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in Nigeria is maintaining its operations despite the COVID-19 pandemic

UNHAS in Nigeria has a Presidential clearance to continue operating its lifesaving service. Photo: WFP/KC Nwakalor

By Kelechi Onyemaobi and Adedeji Ademigbuji

As Nigeria grapples with the outbreak of COVID-19, the government has initiated measures, including lockdowns and closure of borders, to contain the spread of the virus. In the North East of the country, the main airport in Maiduguri, Borno State, is closed to all air traffic, except for military aircraft and flights operated by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS). The service, managed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), received a special presidential clearance to continue its emergency operations.

How displaced persons rebuild their lives as conflict continues to drive hunger in North East Nigeria

Maina Bulama at his new home in Azbak, some 300 km from Maiduguri. Photo: WFP/Karel Prinsloo

Malam Maina Bulama, 75, cannot forget the visitors who brought death and destruction to his village. Four years ago, on the western banks of Lake Chad, Bulama’s rural community, in Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State, was targeted by armed fighters. Bulama suffered as a result of the violent attack: one of his wives died, and he is still searching for his oldest daughter.

Bulama fled his home with the rest of his family, leaving behind his vast acres of farmland and his…

How a World Food Programme operation brought new year cheer to a hungry community in South Sudan

A WFP all-terrain vehicle ploughs through flood waters in Pibor County in eastern South Sudan. Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua

On January 1, 2020, as much of the world observed the New Year holiday, a team of World Food Programme (WFP) and PLAN International aid workers in eastern South Sudan left Pibor town for Gumuruk village in two all-terrain vehicles.

Their mission was to distribute food to communities hit hard by floods that directly affected close to 1 million people in the country, destroyed 73,000 metric tons of potential harvests and wiped out tens of thousands of cattle.

“There is no sickness here…

How World Food Programme (WFP) school feeding is fuelling children’s ambitions to succeed in South Sudan

School feeding helps to keep tens of thousands of children such as Rebecca Aliai in school to achieve their ambitions. Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua

On the dusty grounds of a primary school in Alek South, Warrap State, 500 km from the South Sudanese capital Juba, Rebecca Aliai, 12, plays volleyball with her friends. The children run, jump and frolic happily as they make the most of their school break.

“I want to be educated. This is the only way for a better life.”

A musical in Lagos, backed by WFP, tells the story of two displaced girls who pick up the skills to rebuild their lives

Song and dance: ‘Bintu the Musical’ charts the struggles of families affected by violence and hunger. Photo: WFP/Jean-Fidele Ebenezer

By Kelechi Onyemaobi and George Fominyen

In late December and January, theatregoers in Nigeria will be able to experience of the debut run of BINTU the Musical — created by WFP and Mosaic Theatre Productions. The play is set in Gwoza, a large, rocky town in Borno State, below the Mandarra Mountains, near the Nigeria-Cameroon border. Gwoza, like most of Nigeria’s North East, has known very little peace for 10 years because of an ongoing insurgency.

Kelechi Onyemaobi

UN World Food Programme Communications Officer in Nigeria. Ex-journalist / newspaper editor. Previously worked with UNDP, the World Bank and EU country offices.

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