Lake Chad basin and Central African Republic crises

News Hour:

IOM has appealed to donors to address the humanitarian crisis affecting the Lake Chad Basin, which has displaced nearly three million people in four countries, and the crisis in the Central African Republic, which has displaced a further 400,000.

The Lake Chad Basin crisis began in 2014 with the Boko Haram insurgency and ensuing military operations in the region. Thousands have lost their lives and millions have been displaced across Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

According to the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) led by the government of Nigeria with the support of IOM, over 2 million people have been internally displaced in Nigeria alone. The Emergency Relief Coordinator has described it as among the most underfunded and least addressed humanitarian crises worldwide.

The crisis in the Central African Republic, triggered by communal violence which led to mass forced displacement, began in 2013. Despite a general improvement of the security situation, conditions in displacement sites remain dire, access to basic services limited and high risk communities continue to experience periodic violent clashes. Over 400,000 people remain displaced.

CAR nationals have also been returning from neighbouring Chad since May 2015, creating a growing need for community stabilisation and revitalization initiatives. To date, IOM has assisted over 600,000 people in CAR and aims to reach some 400,000 more through the next year.

IOM’s appeal for USD 61 million for the Lake Chad Basin currently faces a USD 49 million shortfall, while its USD 42.5 million appeal for CAR faces a USD 23.2 million shortfall, according to IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Richard Danziger, speaking to IOM Member State representatives in Geneva this week.

“The upcoming rainy season will exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and further strain already scarce resources in both regions. An immediate response is necessary to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and to ensure conditions preserving basic human dignity,” he said.

IOM’s priorities for the Lake Chad Basin include the provision of life-saving assistance through emergency shelter and distribution of non-food relief items (NFIs), as well as Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) activities.

It aims to target over 300,000 especially vulnerable people, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) survivors, child-headed households, female-headed households, the elderly, those with disabilities, and those who have suffered psychological traumas.

To date IOM’s USD 61 million appeal for the Lake Chad Basin has received USD 12.6 million from OFDA (US), ECHO (EU), UN CERF, UN WFP and the governments of Japan, Germany and France.

Its appeal for USD 42.5 million for CAR has received USD 19.3 million from the EU, the UN Peacebuilding Support Office, and the governments of Japan and Germany.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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