Images: Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger
11 Million in Urgent Need of Humanitarian Aid in Lake Chad
A staggering 11 million people are now facing severe hunger in the Lake Chad region
Sep 6 2018
Following nine years of Boko Haram violence, coupled with the impact of climate change and endemic poverty, 43 NGOs, including Action Against Hunger, have warned that a staggering 11 million people are now facing severe hunger in the Lake Chad region spanning Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon.
The rebel group Boko Haram took up arms in 2009 in pursuit of an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, and the insurgency, as well as military operations across the four countries, has already displaced 2.4 million people and left five million food insecure in one of the poorest regions of the world. The growth of Boko Haram has also significantly reduced investment and economic activity leaving all four countries in a precarious situation, with some areas teetering on the brink of famine.
£1.9 Billion Pledged
Two days of high-level discussions at a major donor conference in Berlin this week regarding the crisis-hit Lake Chad region, has already resulted in £1.9 billion being pledged to help those displaced by Boko Haram, including £144m from the UK government.
This has been positive news from a financial perspective and Action Against Hunger agrees that a regional response, through better regional coordination mechanisms and programming, is needed. We would also like to emphasise that this is primarily about the protection of civilians, both from Boko Haram and local financial shocks. The way the crisis is dealt with needs to shift to a more sustainable approach, combining both humanitarian and development efforts.
Situation Still Fragile
While the last conference held in Oslo in February 2017 exclusively focused on saving lives, it is now largely acknowledged by the humanitarian community that addressing the root causes of the crisis to help build resilience at all levels is vital.
Action Against Hunger agrees with the World Food Program Representative who stated that “the narrative from Oslo and Berlin has changed a lot, but there is still a need to continue providing food and nutrition assistance, as the situation is still fragile, as well as implementing resilience.”
We also agree that the humanitarian community should not see people as victims or beneficiaries but as agents of change. In light of this, there is a real need to reach out to traditional and religious community leaders, and to work more closely with local organisations and authorities to pave away for a peaceful future.
Crucial to Keep up Momentum
It is now crucial to keep up the momentum and to continue raising awareness of the humanitarian emergency in the Lake Chad Basin for it not to become a forgotten crisis again.
Action Against Hunger is currently working in the Lake Chad region implementing the following programmes:
- Food assistance and nutritional supplements for vulnerable people at risk of life-threatening undernutrition
- Emergency nutrition treatment for children at risk of dying from malnutrition
- Water, sanitation and hygiene interventions to help meet the basic needs of displaced people and refugees
- Advocating for an efficient and coordinated response to the crisis so that families can survive and thrive
Children's lives at risk
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