Monday, 18 January 2021

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Lake Chad: A forgotten crisis

Humanitarian Aid © WFP Marco Frattini

Almost 11 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad region.

An international donor conference has been convened in Oslo on 24 February to address this major humanitarian crisis, which affects the region which borders Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. 

“Among the almost eleven million that are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, there are over half a million children that are malnourished and their lives are at risk if aid does not reach them rapidly,” says Toby Lanzer, the UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel.

Norway, Nigeria, Germany and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are co-hosting the conference which will focus on raising awareness about the crisis, to gain more support for humanitarian efforts, and to secure greater political commitment to improve the situation.

“The crisis in northern Nigeria has implications that Europe can ill afford to ignore,” says Mr. Lanzer. “Governments in the region cannot confront challenges posed by 11 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance as well as the root causes of the crisis, namely climate change, violent extremism and poverty.”

2.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of conflict or food shortages. Most of the crisis-affected area is in north-eastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram’s campaign of terror combined with a period of economic decline have led to great hardship and suffering.

“We want to save people’s lives but also see them recover and not having to flee from violence or seek opportunity elsewhere,” says Mr.Lanzer. “In 2016, the largest number of migrants landing on the shores of Italy were from Nigeria. Some countries are doing their utmost both on the humanitarian and development fronts, but some European countries have done too little to tackle the crisis despite the opportunity to address humanitarian and forced migration issues in tandem.”

Additional links: | #OsloHumConf


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