Lake Chad is an extremely shallow water body in the Sahel. It was once the world’s sixth largest
inland water body with an open water area of 25,000 km2 in the 1960s, it shrunk dramatically at the beginning of the 1970s and reduced to less than 2,000 km2 during the 1980s, decreasing by more than 90% its area. It is one of the largest lakes in Africa. It is an endorheic lake – meaning that it doesn’t drain towards the ocean.
Years of violence and unrest in North-East Nigeria have left millions of people at risk of starving to death. Both the violent up surging of Boko Haram and the government’s harsh military crackdown have left already historically marginalised communities with next to nothing.
Children under five years of age are not surviving due to severe food shortages in some parts of the Lake Chad region, says Toby Lanzer, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel.
A famous saying goes: To whom much is given, much is expected. This is the message that the African Development Bank (AfDB) is carrying and delivering for, and on behalf of Africa at the global conference on climate change, COP21, which opened Monday, 30th November.
Since he was nine years old, Martin Mhango from Karonga village in northern Malawi has known no other livelihood than fishing. And for the last 33 years he has been fishing freely on Lake Malawi – that is, until last October when he was detained and beaten by Tanzanian security forces.
Approaching the Lake Chad basin from Gulfe, a small locality 45 kilometres from Cameroon’s Far North Regional capital Maroua, the atmosphere of despair is palpable: dusty air, fierce and unrelenting winds, wilting plants and sand dunes suggest that this once lush area is undergoing a terrible change.