Ready to Respond: Why is preparedness worth it? And how it helps to better respond to the Lake Chad Region crisis

In the Lake Chad Region, that includes part of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, attacks by Boko Haram have uprooted and displaced 2.3 million people to date. Violence, combined with chronic drought, cholera and poverty have created one of the most complex and severe humanitarian crises in today’s world.

Out of the 17 million people living in the Lake Chad Region, some 10.7 million are in critical need of food, water and shelter. Delivery of assistance, however, is made very challenging due to the volatile security situation and remoteness of the region.

Communities in the area are also facing the devastating impact of climate change and excessive irrigations as the Lake waters are drying up and many people are no longer able to live from fishery (waters went from 25,000 km² superficies in the 1960s to just about 2,500 km² today).

In this fragile environment, new humanitarian crises are susceptible to flare up at any time. Four UN agencies (UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR and OCHA) with the support of DFID, have therefore decided to invest together in the Ready to Respond Project to get the region better prepared for further escalation of violence and potential new emergencies - while in parallel keep responding to immediate and urgent needs.

Starting in 2014, the agencies have undertaken a whole range of preventive actions in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger: they prepositioned relief items such as food, communication equipment and educational kits for children, they signed operational agreements with partners, assessed infrastructure for aid supply, organized emergency training for UN and partner staff – along with other preparatory measures that help the humanitarian community better respond to the ongoing crisis in the region.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit