The forgotten crisis: Supporting families in the Lake Chad Basin

Report
from ShelterBox
Published on 14 Jul 2017 View Original

LAKE CHAD BASIN

Violent conflict, caused by the militant extremist group Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria, has been raging since 2009. The violence has since spread to the neighbouring border regions of Cameroon, Niger and Chad, directly affecting around 17 million people.

In addition, this area has been besieged by other problems such as food insecurity and flooding. These floods have not only wiped out edible crops, but the reeds traditionally used to make roofs.

Many of these people have been forced to flee their homes, and often their own countries, and are now in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian aid.

We’ve been working in the region since 2009, providing shelter and essential aid items to families in Niger and Cameroon. This year, we have also started to support families in Chad too.

We’re working hard with partners across this region, delivering SchoolBoxes, tents, tarpaulins, tools, solar lights and equipment as well as hygiene kits to people living in violent, inhumane and unhealthy conditions.

The Lake Chad Basin is under constant strain, as it is home to many of the poorest communities in the world. Help us give hope to these families, and thousands more around the world, who have been robbed of their homes.

To date, we’ve supported more than 50,000 people - but we need to do more.

THE HARSH FACTS

  • 17 million people are affected by the crisis

  • 10.3 million are in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian aid

  • 3.2 million are in need of emergency shelter

  • More than half a million children are acutely malnourished

There is simply not enough support for this crisis.

Humanitarian actors are only able to target 1.6 million people - which is just 50% of the total shelter need.

Help us reach more families in the Lake Chad Basin - and thousands of others around the world in desperate need of emergency shelter.

Chad in Focus

Ayeasia Macintyre, ShelterBox Operations Coordinator, is part of the team who coordinates the provision of aid to the Lake Chad Basin.

‘Chad is the most under-served country in the Basin when it comes to humanitarian assistance. Many people there have escaped violence from Boko Haram, like others across Cameroon and Niger.

'We’re seeing people who are so disadvantaged they don’t even have the choice of becoming refugees. If you don’t know where to go, and you’ve got no money to pay someone to take you out of a situation, then you have to stay where you are.

‘We’re currently helping nearly 1,000 families in Chad, with the support of our partner International Cooperation Action for Humanitarian & Development Assistance (ICAHD). We’re also working with them to train local carpenters to build permanent wooden shelters, which offers a more sustainable solution.'

'NOW I HAVE A HOME'

In Minawao Camp in the extreme north of Cameroon, we’ve been working with our partner IEDA Relief to create long-term shelters for people who had fled violence in the region.

John and his nine family members have been living in a new home for the last four months. Despite horrendous experiences at the hands of Boko Haram, having a home of his own has given him hope, pride and a drive to help others.

John told us: ‘Boko Haram left me with a disability. They hacked my hands so that I can’t feed myself, let alone work. I do not have the ability to build my own shelter, so it was vital that I got this help. ShelterBox has given me a shelter for my family that I could never provide.

‘The building is strong. In this climate of extremes, I felt the immediate protection from the wind, the rain and the heat. It is a huge difference to the collective centre, where the overcrowding is so terrible that we couldn’t even roll over when we were sleeping. But now I have a home. It is my own and it is so comfortable.

'My neighbours here are very friendly and help each other. When I was back in my home country of Nigeria, I would always help my community, but now I am the one reliant on their goodwill. I am truly grateful for my shelter, but I see so much need around me, I feel compelled to speak as a voice for others who still need shelter and assistance here.

'I do not have the words to express how receiving this shelter felt. I wish I could tell you all to your face, so I can show you how much it means. It gives me a lot of pride – pride I will take in maintaining it to ensure it lasts.'

ShelterBox has given me a shelter for my family that I could never provide.