Lake Chad: Red Cross seeks to improve coordinated response to humanitarian crisis

16 September 2015

Abuja (ICRC) – The Red Cross began a two-day regional meeting in Abuja today aimed at improving its coordinated response to the Lake Chad crisis. Red Cross partners include the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the National Societies of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

The armed conflict in north-east Nigeria has created a massive humanitarian crisis with spillover effects on Cameroon, Chad and Niger: entire communities in all four countries have been uprooted. Hundreds of thousands of people, forced to abandon their belongings, now live in host communities or camps. This has created an additional burden on already vulnerable groups and has further strained infrastructures.

"People lack food, water, shelter and medical care," said Patricia Danzi, the ICRC's head of operations for Africa. "They are also suffering from invisible wounds – psychological trauma – that need to be tended with sensitivity and compassion."

So far in 2015, Red Cross partners have come to the aid of more than 500,000 people in the Lake Chad region who have received food, essential household items, drinking water and medical care. The Red Cross is also helping separated family members get back into contact.

"The outcome of this meeting will go a long way towards enhancing an efficient and effective response from the Red Cross Movement to the needs of people affected by this crisis," said Elder Bolaji Akpan Anani, president of the Nigerian Red Cross Society.

Aid is still not reaching hundreds of thousands of people, however, owing to a shortfall in overall funding. Much more needs to be done to meet the dire needs of the victims of the Lake Chad crisis.

For further information, please contact:

Aurélie Lachant, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 32 17
Dénes Benczédi, ICRC Abuja, tel: +234 706 418 90 02 / +234 703 595 41 68
Daddy Rabiou Oumarou, ICRC Niger, tel: +227 92 19 91 85
Sylvie Pellet, ICRC Cameroon, tel: + 237 699 41 65 79