Last updated on October 14, 2018
Approximately, 17 million people in north-eastern Nigeria, the far north of Cameroon, west Chad and south-eastern Niger are suffering from the never-ending Lake Chad Basin crisis. This crisis is caused by persistent violent conflict, climate change and poverty. 10.7 million people are fully dependent on humanitarian assistance.
The violent conflict carried out by the terrorist group Boko Haram began in the Northeast region of Nigeria in 2009 and has spread to other neighbouring countries including Chad. About 1.9 million people have been forced from their homes and farms due to violent attacks by Boko Haram, even IDP camps are no longer safe as there are cases of suicide bombings. There is an increase in food insecurity and about 700,000 people are malnourished mostly children.
The second conference on Lake Chad Basin was held on 3 and 4 September 2018 in Berlin, centred at raising support for further humanitarian action and to maintain the success produced by the first conference; 2017 Oslo conference. The governments, multilateral and international organisations and civil society actors once more came together to create strategies for a bigger humanitarian assistance and raise funds toward the realisation of a better Lake Chad Basin.
To solve the crisis endured by the millions of people living around the Lake Chad Basin, areas that are sensitive to lake Chad’s sudden environmental and social changes should be addressed.
Education becomes a tool to grow and sustain a functional Chad but has been grounded extensively by the Boko Haram attacks and immediate climate wrecks. UNICEF has appealed for USD$41.7 million to combat the education insufficiencies of children in the region but has received just 8 per cent of this amount in the first half of 2018. Education is absolutely important and can be perceived as a long-term solution to the crisis. Education will reduce radicalism in growing kids and acquaint them towards achieving good behaviour in their societies. Peace Studies should be enrolled in their curriculum, teaching about peace and its benefits will plant the ideas behind peace and its needfulness to development. Also, this is an important time to fully involve the girls in the classrooms; laying the foundation for gender equality in the future. pupils should be taught effective ways to adapt or mitigate the effects of climate change in their environment. Unicef and partners have rolled out proper trainings for the teachers in the crisis environment around Lake Chad. To protect the pupils, about 150,000 teachers have undergone safe evacuation training in case of attacks during school time. Approximately, 14,000 teachers received training on blending psychosocial support into their teachings.
Most affected population experience food insecurity, malnutrition and lack of access to water. Approximately 4.5 million people are food insecure in the Lake Chad Basin region. However, this is a decline from a height of 7 million last year. Most have lost their farms, livestock and trades, leaving them struggling to get some food and shelter.
An effective response to the most pressing food problems of the affected communities is by supporting food production. To mitigate the effects of climate shocks during agricultural activities, irrigation and planting of vegetables (need less water) should be encouraged. To ensure that farmers are supported with cereals for next planting season. Communities should be taught ways of managing natural resources and why it is important.
The cooperation of the affected countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin) towards fighting the Boko Haram group brought about the Multi-national Joint Task Force. Efforts are synergised in counterattacking the insurgency by Multi-National Joint Task Force, forcing some Boko Haram elements away from the Lake Chad environment. The Joint Task Force teaches affected population on how to protect themselves in the event of attacks and discourages the farmers from growing certain tall crops that militants can use as cover. Although there is substantial doubt by the international community if MNJTF can deliver, therefore plans are made to support the force in order to protect not just the affected population but also the international aid workers. More than 10 ministers from Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and African Union (AU) representatives have also gathered in Abuja to adopt a strategy targeted at combating Boko Haram insurgents and tackling the crises at the Lake Chad Basin.
Long-term solutions to the population suffering from the shocks of terrorism, poverty, food insecurity, environmental degradation and climate change are achievable but finances are needed to make them work.