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Climate change is not the only cause for the situation in the Lake Chad region - Interview with Mamadou Diop

New ''Early Warning, Early Action'' tools and mitigation solutions can help mitigate the security risks and prevent loss of livelihoods.

"The situation of the Lake Chad basin remains very complicated. In the last 50 years, the lake’s surface shrank by 90%. Apart from this, Boko Haram’s insurgency has caused additional problems. The region occupied by Boko Haram is destabilized.The education system is completely destabilized, the health system completely collapsed. In fact, the health structures do not function anymore and neither do schools. Besides, we witness an expansion of Boko Haram’s insurgency in other countries of Lake Chad, beginning with Nigeria, then in 3 other countries at the level of Lake Chad, namely Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

In Borno State, in the north-east of Nigeria, in Difa in Niger, and in the Far North region of Cameroon, the groups disturb many displaced people with their insurgencies. We count almost 5 million people affected by food insecurity, 3 million displaced people and 50 thousand people facing starvation.

Climate change is one factor. Climate change is not the only cause for the Lake Chad situation. Today we know that the economic situation in the Lake Chad region has deteriorated, because the people living primarily from fishing, herding and agriculture had to abandon their lands and ended up in refugee camps. Today, it is the humanitarian community who takes up the task with the support of certain governments of course, they are conscious about the problems and are proposing solutions to liberate the occupied zones.

With regards to climate change, our intervention strategy consists in Early Warning Early Action. We developed tools, we put into place a bio-generator, a hydro-generator, that allows us to predict, within a very short time, let’s say six months, the regional pastoral situation, because we have the possibility to measure the biomass and to assess the state of the vegetation in that region. And we can establish mitigation solutions, for example set up food storages for livestock to allow herders to access them. Apart from this, we also intervene directly and provide aid to displaced people through food assistance, and caring about malnutrition and health, foremost mental health. And we are also engaged in water activities, hygiene and sanitation to allow displaced people to access water and sanitary systems."