The Lake Chad region: 'Africa's most acute crisis'

2017-02-23 21:19
(File :, AP)

(File :, AP)

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Lagos - An international conference in Oslo on Friday aims to raise $1.5bn to help people affected by Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency in the Lake Chad region.

Here are five things to know about the area, which is home to what the United Nations has called "Africa's most acute crisis".

Watery border 

The Lake Chad region means northeast Nigeria, the far north of Cameroon, western Chad and southeast Niger.

The countries share a border on the shallow, freshwater lake.

Boko Haram, which has since 2009 fought to impose its own brand of hardline Islam on northeast Nigeria, has in recent years launched deadly raids and suicide bombings in all four countries.

Vital resource

Lake Chad, which is believed to have once been an inland sea, is a vital source of water and fishing for those who live in and around its shores in the remote, semi-arid region.

But the conflict, which according to some estimates has killed at least 20 000 people and made more than 2.6 million others homeless, has exacerbated an already difficult situation.

 Complex problem 

The Lake Chad region has long been one of the most impoverished and under-developed places in the world, with poor human development indicators in areas such as education and healthcare.

Rapid population growth, the effects of climate change - the shrinking of the lake and the creep of the Sahara desert - and the violence has created what aid agencies call an "acute crisis".

Huge numbers 

Some 17 million people live in the most affected areas.

Violence has hit fishing and farming, and forced hundreds of thousands to live in camps or with friends and relatives.

The UN says 10.7 million people are currently in need in the region; 7.1 million are "severely food insecure"; and there are "famine-like conditions" in Borno state, northeast Nigeria.

Aid money 

If funding is met at the Oslo conference, the money will go towards life-saving food distribution and providing clean water, medicine, shelter and education to help rebuild lives.

If the money is not found, the UN and other agencies have made dire predictions, including that as many as 75 000 of the 515 000 children with severe acute malnutrition could die.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  chad  |  cameroon  |  niger  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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