West Africa crisis

Fatma Abba, 17, from Niger, had to flee her village because of the threat of Boko Haram. She is now living in an IDP camp with her one year old son. Photo: Vincent Tremeau/Oxfam
Fatma Abba, 17, from Niger, had to flee her village because of the threat of Boko Haram. She is now living in an IDP camp with her one year old son. Photo: Vincent Tremeau/Oxfam

A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.

Africa’s fastest growing displacement crisis

Almost seven years of violent conflict involving the group commonly known as Boko Haram and military operations to counter them has led to a devastating humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa.

Originating in Nigeria, the  violence has spread across borders into neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon forcing over 2.6 million people to flee their homes, abandon their farms and land. This is Africa’s fastest growing displacement crisis, with alarming levels of sexual violence, human rights abuses and forced recruitment, even of young children.

Forced to flee, now facing hunger, malnutrition and disease

The conflict has devastated food production and led to the wholesale destruction of entire villages, roads, water sources, health facilities and schools. In some affected areas in the region this is the third year without a harvest and food prices are soaring in the markets.

6.3 million people face severe food insecurity, thousands are estimated to have died already due to hunger and malnutrition. Almost half a million children under five are severely malnourished across the region and, with the rainy season already in full swing, the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks, such as cholera, is high. People are in urgent need of food, water, medical care, shelter and safety.
 

 Mushood Raimi/Oxfam Oxfam is helping communities affected by the conflict in north-east Nigeria to repair wells, so people have a source of clean water. Photo: Mushood Raimi/Oxfam

Oxfam's response

So far, Oxfam has supported over 250,000 people since we began responding to the crisis in Nigeria in May 2014. We are now working in three out of the four affected states and plan to reach over 1.5 million people by the end of December 2017.

In Nigeria, we are providing people with emergency food, clean drinking water and improved sanitation. We are distributing emergency shelters and cooking equipment, as well as seeds and tools to help traders and farmers get back on their feet.

In Niger, we are installing water systems to make sure people have clean water to drink and distributing essential items such as cooking pots, buckets and water purifying tablets. We are providing food assistance and support to income generating activities for IDPs and refugees.

We are also responding in Chad where our focus is cash distribution, providing tarpaulins for shelter, and supply of clean water to help prevent the spread of diseases.

You can help

An already vulnerable population is facing a life threatening situation that has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe across four countries. People have seen their homes ruined, their lives completely disrupted. Having left everything behind, these desperate families now face new dangers – hunger, malnutrition and disease.

And yet they remain largely unseen and unassisted by the world. Your donation will help us to respond where most needed.