Boko Haram’s violent militancy in Africa’s Lake Chad region has caused “catastrophic” levels of malnutrition, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).
The UN agency says more than 5.6 million people do not have enough food to eat.
It is warning that it could lead to prolonged hunger, as attacks intensify in Chad and continue in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger.
“Here in lake of region of Chad, the World Food Programme is scaling up its operations, as more and more displaced people are arriving, people fleeing the violence on the islands near the border with Nigeria,” said Alexis Masciarelli, WFP spokesman.
“People who have virtually left everything behind them, the food that they had harvested this year, their clothes, their tools, their fishing nets and the vast majority of them rely almost exclusively on humanitarian aid.”
Boko Haram has been fighting for six years to establish an Islamist state in northeast Nigeria.
It has stepped up attacks on neighbouring countries, which have joined a Nigerian offensive against the militants.
Those displaced by the fighting are now living in makeshift shelters. Most of them are women and children. Some men have been killed, while other have migrated for work.