LAGOS, Nigeria

The UN said on Friday that humanitarian needs in Nigeria’s northeastern region wrecked by over a decade of terror attacks have hit record high.

In a statement, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said more than 10.6 million people will be needing some form of humanitarian assistance in 2020, close to 50 percent increase from last year.

“The number of people needing humanitarian assistance is the highest ever recorded in five years of a joint humanitarian response,” said Edward Kallon, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria.

It came after a virtual meeting with the Nigerian humanitarian and disaster management minister, governor of Borno and other international aid groups held on Thursday.

The UN office said the devastating impacts of COVID-19 pandemic would further distress the country’s most fragile region and acerbate the humanitarian situation.

It said those in urgent needs — food, water, sanitation, medication — have increased from 7.1 million in the previous year to 7.8 million people due to an increase in attacks by non-state armed groups.

The requirement now stands at $1.08 billion, the UN office said.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks on civilian population and ambushed military troops in recent times, including the killing of five aid workers. A UN hub was attacked by the terrorists at a town in Borno State, heartland of the violence.

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