Needs of people across the Lake Chad Basin are amongst the highest in the world and, as national and local capacities to address the situation have become ever more stretched, the time has come most urgently to increase international aid in the region.
Of the 20 million people living in the region, 9.2 million are now in need of life-saving assistance. 5.2 million people are severely food insecure. 2.7 million have been forced from their homes. Still more are hosts to the displaced and are also stretched. The situation is this grave because of a number of factors:abject poverty, climate change, and violent extremism come to the fore. Indeed, Boko Haram is considered the world’s deadliest extremist group.
The national and local response to human suffering has been immediate, generous and long-standing. For example, the city of Maiduguri’s 1 million inhabitants have hosted up to 1.6 million internally displaced persons. The people of Diffa, arguably the poorest on earth, have welcomed 1 refugee for every 4 residents. Chad’s government is stretched on all of its borders trying to protect its own people as well as those from neighbouring countries who have sought refuge there. The adage that a ‘country is rich because it has oil and should therefore help its own people’ does not add up given global oil prices. Neither the authorities nor communities across the Lake Chad Basin can keep up with the tide of human suffering. It is high time for the international community to step up its humanitarian response.
This short paper outlines the priorities in a number of key sectors that help protect people’s rights and ensure their survival: emergency education; food security; health; nutrition; protection; shelter (including non-food items such as cooking sets and soap); and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The paper also calls for the donor community to put forward, without delay, US$ 221,561 million required by non-governmental organisations and United Nations agencies to address people’s priority needs up to the end of September 2016. Before then, more comprehensive and detailed revisions of the respective Humanitarian Response Plans for Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria will be available.
While this paper does not seek resources to address the underlying causes of suffering, it is a call for organisations engaged in development and the environment to do much more for the region in support of the four concerned states and their people. Further, the need for security operations that both keep people safer and facilitate their ability to farm, fish and trade is vital. Indeed, re-igniting trade would perhaps be the single biggest source of succor for the communities across the region.
Donors are called on to contact the Humanitarian Coordinators or sector (or cluster) leads directly in the four countries of concern: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. They, with the support of OCHA, are spearheading the response of non-governmental organizations and UN agencies to the emergency and it is thanks to them and partners that this paper has been written. Any further delay in funding for operations across the Lake Chad Basin will contribute to a deepening of the crisis and steeper financial requirements later in the year to meet ever-growing needs.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.