Lake Chad Basin Emergency: 2018 Humanitarian Needs and Requirement Overview (February 2018)

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 22 Feb 2018


The humanitarian emergency across the Lake Chad basin is one of the world’s most severe. This year, around 10.7 million people need relief assistance to survive. The near-decade-long conflict has wilted livelihoods, entire communities have been emptied and civilians continue to suffer frequent rights violations. Insecurity is deterring resumption of normal life in many localities. Over the past two years, stepped-up humanitarian assistance has saved millions of lives. Assistance is reaching more people than before as aid organisations increase personnel, previously unreachable areas become accessible and donors support grows. Concerted efforts by humanitarian actors and the Government helped avert the risk of famine in 2017. Food insecurity and malnutrition, nonetheless, remain high in the conflict-hit regions of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Humanitarian organisations are in 2018 requesting for US$1.6 billion to ease hunger, provide water, shelter, hygiene, healthcare, protection and education and help communities rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

  • The humanitarian response in 2017 has been effective, reaching millions of people and saving many lives.

  • Humanitarian needs will remain high into 2018 and beyond, and continued support from the international community behind national efforts will be essential.

  • Improved security and access are essential to protect civilians and allow the population to rebuild their lives.

  • Sustained humanitarian efforts need to be paired with supporting recovery and scaling up development efforts.

Conflict, displacement and violations

Persistent insecurity and hostilities continue to drive displacements. About 2.2 million people are currently uprooted from their homes and living in refuge, a slight decline from 2.3 million in 2017. Villages, towns and even sites hosting displaced people recurrently come under attack, hitting civilians the hardest. Children have been abducted and forced to carry out bomb attacks, while women and girls are at higher risk of sexual violence. Economically disenfranchised, families are enduring extreme hardship and are exposed to exploitation and abuse.

Most of the displaced people have sought refuge in communities or in informal settlements, surviving in harsh conditions with low prospects of returning home. While hundreds of thousands have returned to or near their homes in recent years, resuming normal life is far from easy due to destruction of their homes, schools, health centres and other infrastructure.

The Governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria adopted in June 2016 the Abuja Action Statement to better protect civilians from violations and abuse. The countries have made significant steps to implementing the agreement. However, renewed commitment is needed by all actors to enhance the protection of the internally displaced, refugees and other affected populations.

Severe food insecurity and malnutrition

Food shortages and pasture deficits are recurrent across the largely arid Lake Chad Basin. Conflict has compounded the cyclic crises. Prolonged displacement, insecurity, looting and destruction, shuttered markets and security measures have wrecked livelihoods. Around 4.5 million people are currently food insecure, a decline from around 7 million in the same period in 2017. In the 2018 lean season, 5.8 million people are projected to face severe food insecurity.

Malnutrition rates in the conflict-affected regions have surpassed emergency levels and hundreds of thousands of young children require life-saving assistance.

Seeking lasting solutions

Humanitarian actors and Governments have developed strategies to provide emergency life-saving assistance and work closely with development actors to address the structural causes of human suffering. The integrated programmes seek to bring long-term solutions to communities suffering the chronic effects of underinvestment in social services, poverty, environmental degradation and climate change.

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