Lake Chad

What life is like when you live in the middle of a silent emergency

Imagine surviving on just one meal a day 

This is the reality for many people living in Africa’s Lake Chad region.

This is not a crisis about a lake. It is a sprawling disaster that covers four countries in West Africa. 

Over 4.5 million people don’t have access to enough nutritious food.

Half a million children have had so little to eat that they are severely malnourished.

Yet despite all of this, the crisis rarely makes the headlines. To the world, it is a silent emergency.

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The crisis in five facts 

  • Conflict in north-east Nigeria has spilled across borders into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
  • More than two million people have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety.
  • They have moved into poor areas. Shelter, food and water are scarce.
  • This, combined with the effects of climate change, has created an urgent food crisis.
  • Around 10.9 million people need the basics to survive. That’s more than all the people living in Scotland and Wales.

Health care under attack

Health facilities are also suffering. Many lack basic medicines. In some areas, health workers have had to flee the violence, so there is hardly anyone left to treat the patients.

In Nigeria’s Borno state, 41 per cent of health facilities are said to have been damaged or destroyed.

How is the Red Cross helping?

The Red Cross is one of the few organisations that can operate in the region.

We’ve already reached hundreds of thousands of people with food, health care, clean water and other essential items.

We also support the Nigeria Red Cross to improve how they help people caught up in this crisis and their work across the country.