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Lake Chad Basin: Crisis Update No. 25 (September 2018)

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Regional Highlights

  • Donors pledge $2.17 billion for assistance
  • Region faces worst cholera outbreak since 2010
  • Rains complicate aid access in Cameroon’s Far North
  • Malnutrition surpass emergency threshold in much of Chad

Situation Overview


The Lake Chad Basin is facing the worst cholera outbreak since 2010. With more than 35,000 cases and 845 deaths officially reported since the start of the year in Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, it is 15 times more than the average cholera caseload over the past four years. Nigeria is the most affected having reported more than 30,000 cases. On 20 September, the authorities in Nigeria’s northeastern Yobe state declared an outbreak. Two weeks earlier, a cholera outbreak was declared in neighboring Borno state. As of 20 September, the two states had recorded 3,126 including 97 deaths.

Floods and heavy rains risk propagating the disease further. Infections could spread from Nigeria into Chad. In Niger, cholera is spreading to Zinder in the south and seriously threatening the capital Niamey. Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali are also at risk. The current outbreak in the Lake Chad Basin is following the same pattern as the 2010 outbreak that claimed 2,610 lives in Cameroon,
Chad, Niger and Nigeria and continued into 2011. The last two major outbreaks in the region were in 2010 and 2014.

The authorities and aid agencies have launched emergency response: treating patients, providing preventive measures and hygiene messages. Vaccinations have been conducted in Nigeria’s Adamawa, Bauchi and Borno states, but further campaigns are urgently required in the region. If not brought under control urgently, the outbreak threatens to reverse progress made by many West African countries in reducing cholera infections.


Attacks and insecurity prevail in much of the conflicthit regions of the Lake Chad Basin. On 17 September, armed attackers killed an aid worker, Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, abducted during a deadly raid in March in Nigeria’s north-eastern Rann locality. The International Committee of the Red Cross employee was kidnapped alongside two other aid workers. Rann hosts some 81,000 displaced people who have fled violence. Around 3,000 humanitarians work in Nigeria’s north-east.

The violence continues to uproot thousands of people from their homes. From 3 – 11 September, 4,037 newly displaced individuals arrived in camps and host communities in Borno state. The displacements are largely triggered by conflict, floods, poor living conditions, intercommunity clashes, fear of attacks by armed groups and military operations. Across the border in Niger, incursions by armed elements have risen with new trend of kidnappings since the end of a joint multinational military operation, in June. More than 10 armed raids have been recorded in Diffa since the start of September alone. More than 10 armed raids have been recorded in Diffa since the start of September alone.


Malnutrition remains high in Chad. Severe acute malnutrition prevalence is above the two per cent emergency threshold in 15 out of 23 regions. New admissions have increased by 30 per cent compared to 2017 and by 70 per cent compared to 2015. This is partly thanks to the massive scale up of malnutrition treatment over the past two years. Nutrition treatment centres in the capital N’Djamena are overwhelmed. Around 30 new patients are admitted daily. Across the country, medical facilities already report an extremely high number of children suffering from SAM.

Conflict in north-east Nigeria is limiting farming, worsening food insecurity. Up to 3 million people are currently food insecure and require assistance. Following recent assessments, partners are carrying out a retargeting exercise in Borno and Yobe to ensure that the most vulnerable people receive food assistance. Joint seed and food assistance is ongoing across all three states.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.