West Africa crisis 2016

The situation

The present crisis across the Lake Chad basin began seven years ago as a result of the emergence of the group Boko Haram in Nigeria and military operations against it.

The violence in Northern Nigeria has caused untold suffering and a growing humanitarian crisis. This has now spread into Niger, Chad and Cameroon and resulted in Africa’s fastest growing displacement crisis, with over 2.7 million people forced to leave their homes to flee violence and in need of urgent help.

Food shortages and malnutrition have reached alarming levels, especially in children and 9.2 million people are in need of immediate life-saving assistance

The violence leaves men, women and children no other choice than to flee for their lives. The number of displaced people has tripled in the past two years, and continues to grow. Vital infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads, markets and farmland has been destroyed or severely damaged, preventing people from accessing essential services. Prior to the conflict, these communities in the Lake Chad Basin were already some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.

They are in urgent need of food, water, and medical care. They are living in camps for displaced people and among host communities and are struggling to survive.

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Oxfam’s work

Oxfam teams are helping to minimise the loss of life, and have been working to improve conditions of those displaced since 2013. Since March alone, Oxfam has been able to reach nearly 60,000 people, providing life-saving essentials, including:

  • Emergency food and nutrition support
  • Improved sanitation through the construction of bathing facilities and repair of toilets
  • Access to clean drinking water
  • Seeds and tools to help rebuild communities

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Crisis in West Africa threatens millions

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Millions displaced by conflict in Nigeria are seeking shelter wherever they can, and struggling to find enough food to survive. Photo: Ibrahim Dung/Oxfam