The United Nations refugee agency said today it is alarmed at the recent wave of attacks on civilians in north-east Nigeria which has led to population displacement both inside the country and into neighbouring States.“The brutality and frequency of these attacks is unprecedented,” Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva. “The past two months have seen multiple kidnappings and deaths, creating population displacement both inside Nigeria and into neighbouring countries,” he added. Mr. Edwards said that refugees and internally displaced people alike are reporting acts of extreme violence, and show clear signs of distress and fear. Some have witnessed friends or family members being randomly singled out and killed in the streets.“People speak of homes and fields being burned to the ground, with villages completely razed, or grenades being launched into crowded markets killing people and livestock,” he stated. “There is mention of people being caught in fighting between insurgents and the armed forces, arbitrary arrests under the suspicion of belonging to insurgent groups, and other serious alleged crimes including, reportedly, summary executions.”Terrorized students who had survived attacks on their schools in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states have told UNHCR how they saw friends being killed or kidnapped. The abduction of over 200 girls from a school in Chibok in Borno state last month is just one in a series of similar kidnappings from schools in north-east Nigeria in recent months.Mr. Edwards noted that next week will mark the first anniversary of the Nigerian Government’s declaration of a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. In all, 250,000 people are now internally displaced, according to the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). In addition, some 61,000 others have fled to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Most are Niger nationals who were living in Nigeria, but 22,000 are Nigerians who have been made refugees by the crisis.
ALMOST 60,000 PEOPLE were forced to wait on trolleys in hospital Emergency Departments around the country last year as they waited for a bed, new figures have found.The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said the levels of overcrowding have become a full-blown crisis, with the problems spread hospital-wide in many areas.The number of people who had to stay on a trolley had dropped for two years in a row but rose by 2 per cent last year.INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said that while efforts were being made to reduce numbers on trolleys in Emergency Departments, it wasn’t working.“The problem is now compounded as, in some hospitals, patients, on a daily basis, are being placed on chairs, trolleys and extra beds in already full wards and units,” he said.Doran said more than 2,100 beds have been closed in the past five years and linked it to the health budget which has been cut by €619 million for 2014.“It is difficult to see how this crisis, which has been ongoing since late 2004, can be solved without major investment,” he said. “It was deemed a national emergency in 2006 but the numbers have increased by 22 per cent since then”.There were 327 people stuck on trolleys today, compared to 387 yesterday. Beaumont Hospital topped the list both days with 40 people on trolleys in the Dublin hospital today. The Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick was the second-worst with 33 patients on trolleys.Every one of the 26 hospitals surveyed by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) had at least one patient on a trolley.Read: Number of patients on hospital trolleys at highest in months > Read: Nurses to track hospital overcrowding >