Nigeria: Disease outbreaks and hunger threaten the lives of millions in Lake Chad region

The outbreak of epidemics in the Lake Chad region coupled with a rising number of people experiencing severe hunger in Nigeria demands urgent attention to provide a political solution to the complex conflict and release much needed funds, urges CARE International.

According to the latest analyses, an additional two million people will face critical food insecurity over the coming three months in Nigeria, totalling the number of people going to bed hungry each night to nearly nine million.

“As of June, about 50,000 people in three states of Nigeria will be in famine conditions and will starve without urgent humanitarian support,” warns Garth Van’t Hul, interim country director in Nigeria.

Earlier this year, epidemics have broken out in Nigeria and Niger. Close to 10,000 suspected meningitis cases and over 830 deaths were recorded in Nigeria since the outbreak in April. In neighbouring Niger, which is strongly battered by the conflict, Hepatitis E has broken out for the first time ever, affecting one of the poorest countries in the world which has very few health facilities.

“This is adding another layer of misery for people who are trying to survive a violent conflict and rising food insecurity. What’s very concerning is that women are mainly affected by the hepatitis outbreak. All deaths occurred among pregnant women and we need to act swiftly to contain the epidemics,” Van’t Hul urges.

Only 21% of the much-needed $1.1 billion USD to provide humanitarian assistance in Nigeria have been received.

“This is severely hampering relief efforts for millions of poor people and we urge donors to release these funds as soon as possible. It is unacceptable to leave people to their suffering. Donors must stand to their commitments to alleviate hunger and an impending epidemic crisis,” says Van’t Hul.

Ultimately, a political solution is needed to end the conflict in the Lake Chad region.

“The conflict in the Lake Chad region remains very much neglected by political leaders and has not surfaced greatly on donor’s agendas. Yet we don’t need to wait until famine is announced in Nigeria. Families need humanitarian support now so we avoid the worst and help them rebuild their lives.”

CARE has started operating in Nigeria, aiming to reach 900,000 people with life-saving food and livelihood assistance, sexual and reproductive health services as well as supporting women affected by gender-based violence.

In Niger, CARE has disseminated disease sensitization materials and provided 9,000 jerry cans and water purification tablets to prevent hepatitis E from spreading.

Overall in the Lake Chad region, CARE International has reached 53,000 people in Cameroon, 47,000 people in Chad and more than 250,000 people in Niger with life-saving food, shelter, water, farming supplies, household and cooking items as well as hygiene kits.


To arrange an interview with CARE spokespeople in Nigeria, Niger, Chad (Canadian available) or Canada, contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | 1.613.790.2134

Famine has now been declared in South Sudan. If the world doesn’t act, there are fears famine could soon be announced in Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen.

Your help is urgently needed to save lives.