It is one of the largest humanitarian crises of the present day: millions of displaced persons and refugees who are urgently in need of assistance are living in the Lake Chad region. Germany is making available 120 million euros in financial assistance and, as co-host of a donor conference in Oslo, mobilised additional international support on Friday (24 February).
They have left everything behind: their villages were plundered, friends and family members killed or kidnapped. The terrorist group Boko Haram has been on the rampage in north-eastern Nigeria for many years. Millions of people, many of whom are severely traumatised, have fled to the Lake Chad region to escape the violence. However, the region is one of the poorest on the continent. It does not have the resources to provide for millions of refugees. The most basic supplies are lacking: food, safe water and medical care are urgently needed. Yet the humanitarian disaster that is looming in the region receives hardly any coverage here.
Preventing the most acute suffering
An international humanitarian initiative is needed to tackle the crisis and prevent the most acute suffering. To this end, Germany, Norway, Nigeria and the United Nations convened an international donor conference in Oslo. In Oslo today, Gabriel, together with his foreign minister colleagues, forged an alliance for more and better coordinated humanitarian assistance in the region. Germany, Norway, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and the United Nations have formed an advisory group in which they will coordinate their assistance measures on an ongoing basis.
Germany earmarks 120 million euros
Speaking in Oslo, Gabriel declared, “We have to act together, and we have to act now.” Germany announced its contribution to this assistance today: over the next three years, Germany will make available 120 million euros for humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad region. The funds pledged at the conference in Oslo are to be used to alleviate the most acute needs of the people in the region as quickly as possible. Food, water and also education programmes for children and young people are to be provided as emergency humanitarian relief measures.
Fighting the causes of the suffering
Yet this is about more: Germany is working to tackle the root causes of the emergency situation. Initiatives for reconciliation and cohesion are needed to stop the spiral of violence in north-eastern Nigeria. To this end, 20 million euros from Germany’s contribution are to be invested in conflict mediation and deradicalisation projects in the region. If stable development is to be seen in the long term, the ownership of the local population in the reconstruction process needs to be strengthened. The Federal Foreign Office has increased its humanitarian assistance funds considerably in recent years, including its financial support for Africa. In 2016 alone, the Federal Foreign Office was able to double the size of its assistance measures compared to the previous year and thus contributed around 270 million euros for aid projects in Africa. The Federal Foreign Office provided a total of over 1.3 billion euros to respond to humanitarian crises around the world in 2016.