Lake Chad Basin Crisis
The humanitarian crisis unfolding around the Lake Chad basin is complex.
The crisis is the result of armed conflict, fueled by the region's long-standing socio-economic marginalization, against the backdrop of an ecological crisis.
The conflict has claimed over 20,000 lives since 2009 and has greatly intensified in recent years while spreading to countries bordering Nigeria, i.e. Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.
The violence generated by Boko Haram and by military counter-offensives has resulted in massive and prolonged population displacements. The number of displaced persons has tripled in the last two years.
This crisis has also triggered a major disruption of agriculture due to the destruction and looting of crops and livestock by armed groups, to the authorities' prohibition of certain commercial activities, and to the closure of borders and markets for security reasons. Food insecurity and malnutrition rates have reached critical levels, and it is estimated that nearly 50,000 people are at risk of famine in northeastern Nigeria.
The ongoing violence and insecurity have also resulted in the destruction of vital infrastructure and the disruption of basic social services such as schools and health centres.
This humanitarian crisis has deep roots. In particular, the Lake Chad basin region has suffered from a development deficit for many years. States have invested little in these areas located far from major urban centres. It is also a region where there are already inter-community tensions concerning access to natural resources, where the population has grown very rapidly during past years, and where borders are poorly controlled. In addition, the region has been the hit by recurrent natural disasters amplified by climate change. An environmental crisis due in large part to desertification and the overexploitation of natural resources is adding to these pre-existing and recurring problems, resulting in food production deficits in recent years.