Lake Chad Crisis Lake Chad Crisis

Tens of thousands of people are fleeing conflict in Nigeria to neighbouring countries

Tens of thousands of people are fleeing conflict in Nigeria to neighbouring countries

Conflict in northern Nigeria is causing a regional humanitarian crisis, with tens of thousands of people fleeing the border into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

More than 2.3 million people have fled their homes and refugees are putting a heavy strain on communities already struggling with food shortages.

Eighty per cent of those displaced are women and children.

“Talking to refugees we hear heart-breaking stories of children separated from their families and women desperately looking for them. People are dying from disease and hunger, and these numbers will continue to rise until there is a robust international response to meet the need of refugees and vulnerable host communities,” says Country Director for CARE in Niger, Rotimy Djossaya.

In a region where people are already living precariously, a crisis such as this could have devastating long-term consequences. People are in urgent need of food, shelter, water and sanitation, and education.


Conflict and disease are adding to Nigeria’s overwhelming food crisis. Already, there are more than 7.7 million people who are without enough food. It is estimated that 50,000 people are at risk of famine and will starve without any humanitarian support.

Children are particularly vulnerable not only to poor nutrition, but loss of education, forced labour, recruitment by armed groups and child marriage.


Fighting on the Nigerian border is also causing displacement of people within Niger. This adds to the burden of refugees from Nigeria and the families who host them, who are already exhausted by two years of pressure and stress.

There are more than 419,000 people in need of humanitarian support in Niger. In the region of Diffa, more than half of the population do not have secure access to food and about a quarter of children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition. Lack of clean water has contributed to a regional epidemic of cholera.


Cameroon is hosting more than 359,000 refugees, including 39,000 from Nigeria. This puts additional pressure on scarce resources and precarious living conditions in host communities. Fifty-four per cent of households in northern Cameroon now face food shortages.


More than 500,000 people in Chad are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 14,000 Nigerians have fled to western Chad since January 2015. It is one of the poorest and most vulnerable parts of Chad and access to basic services is already limited. The needs of refugees are adding to the strain for 37,000 people from host communities.

There is a growing need for food, shelter, and access to clean water. Women and girls, who represent 95 per cent of the displaced population are in real danger of gender-based violence.

How CARE is helping

In Cameroon, CARE has helped 163,000 people with farming supplies, livelihood support, shelter and cooking implements. In Chad, we are providing people with emergency shelter and have reached more than 94,000 people.

In Niger, CARE has reached a total of 299,000 people with clean water, food, and shelter.

In Nigeria, CARE has reached 701,000 people with lifesaving food and livelihood assistance, sexual and reproductive health services as well as supporting women affected by gender-based violence.

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