Ireland to donate €5m in response to Lake Chad Basin crisis

Aid agencies have warned that millions of lives are at risk across Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon as the conflict with Islamic extremist group Boko Haram intensifies

Ireland is to donate at least €5m in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the four country Lake Chad Basin region in West Africa.

Aid agencies have warned that millions of lives are at risk across Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon as the conflict with Islamic extremist group Boko Haram intensifies.

Over 2.6 million people - including 1.5 million children - have fled their homes in the face of what was named the “most neglected crisis of 2016” in a survey conducted by the Thomson Reuters foundation late last year.

Representatives from the UN, governments and donors have been meeting in Oslo, Norway to discuss the response to the crisis this week.

Speaking from the meeting, Pauline Ballaman, Oxfam’s head of operations in the Lake Chad Basin area said parts of northern Nigeria are facing real risk of famine.

“Millions of people have been pushed to the brink after years of conflict,” she said. “Unable to grow or buy food, or get the help they desperately need, many have died.”

In a statement today, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said the crisis in the region has now reached grave proportions with 10.7 million people currently in need of life-saving assistance.

“I have been following the deteriorating situation in north east Nigeria and the Lake Chad region with great concern,” he said.

“The Boko Haram insurgency targeting civilian populations has destroyed vital infrastructure, preventing people from accessing essential services, causing widespread trauma, suffering and displacement.”

Minister Flanagan said the Oslo conference is an important step in highlighting the scale of the crisis.

Ireland’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Seán Hoy, will represent Ireland at the meeting tomorrow February 24th.