accessibility & help

Urgent fundraising appeal for forgotten Lake Chad crisis launched by British Red Cross

31 October 2016

With some people surviving on just one meal a day, this unfolding catastrophe is affecting a staggering 9.2 million across Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon – known as Africa’s Lake Chad region. Despite the huge number of people affected, most have never even heard about this crisis.

Conflict, displacement, food shortages and disease have combined to create this devastating crisis in one of the world’s poorest regions. Since 2009, the north-eastern part of Nigeria has been plagued by conflict, characterised by extreme violence against civilians. In 2013, the fighting spread to neighbouring countries, drawing Cameroon, Chad and Niger into the conflict.

Millions of people have now fled their homes, seeking shelter in communities and increasing pressure on already scarce resources. Villages have seen populations increase fivefold. Garin Wanzam, in Niger’s Diffa region, increased from 1,500 to 30,000, with just one shared well for water. Niger currently ranks 188 in the UN Human Development Index, making it the poorest country in the world.

Food shortages mean that over half a million children are currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Previously eradicated infectious diseases, such as polio, have re-emerged. Health facilities lack basic medicines and many health workers have fled the violence, leaving an already weak health care system in crisis.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is one of the few humanitarian organisations able to access communities in each of the four countries. The ICRC has drastically scaled up its work in the Lake Chad region, making its operation there its second largest in the world, behind only Syria.

Mike Adamson, Chief Executive, British Red Cross, said:

“The world must wake up to the humanitarian crisis gripping the Lake Chad region. Millions of people are struggling without the very basics to survive – food, clean water, safety and shelter. The Red Cross is there working across the region, but we need your help.


“While this crisis may be complicated and protracted, underreported and underfunded, what is simple is the desperate human need that we are responding to. As the British Red Cross we help people in need wherever and whoever they are, even when the world’s attention is elsewhere.”


British Red Cross Disaster Relief Alliance partners including Tesco, Aviva, and John Lewis Partnership have contributed to the appeal through the disaster fund.

To donate to the British Red Cross Lake Chad Crisis Appeal:



Notes to editors

For more information, please contact:

Hannah Wilkinson, Senior Media Manager, British Red Cross

Email: l Tel: 0207 877 7095 l Twitter: @h_wilki


The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.


Lake Chad Crisis Appeal:


Number of people in need

(across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon)

9.2 million

Number of people displaced

2.6 million

Number of people who are severely food insecure


Number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition


Number of people living in affected areas

21 million

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