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Donors to give 672 mlm USD in aid to Nigeria, Lake Chad region

OSLO, (Xinhua) -- International donors at a humanitarian conference in Olso on Friday pledged 672 million U.S. dollars in aid to northeastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, host country Norway said.

At the conference, 14 donors pledged 458 million dollars for relief in 2017 and an additional 214 million dollars was announced for 2018 and beyond, the Norwegian government said in a statement.

Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Borge Brende opened the international donor conference Friday for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, which is affected by the extremist group Boko Haram, poverty, lack of social development and climate changes.

The amount that has so far been pledged for the area, where 11 million people are in acute need of emergency aid, is a third of what the United Nations considers necessary, according to Norwegian news agency NTB.

“It is urgent to stop the crisis unfolding in an area with 26 million people and threatening the entire region. If we do not make effort now, the situation will be even worse, with all its consequences,” Brende said.

The conference was organized together with Nigeria, Germany and the UN, with about 170 participants.

The money will be channelled through the UN, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and various Norwegian NGOs in affected countries.

However, the countries themselves are responsible for providing security and basic services to their own population, Brende emphasized.

“In addition to the acute aid, a long-term support is also important for much-needed development measures. This refers to areas where infrastructure such as health institutions and schools hardly exist. Norway will continue this through development cooperation which we have already established with Nigeria and Niger, while in Chad and Cameroon we particularly support education and health sector through global schemes and civil society organizations,” Brende said.

Camilla Bruckner, director of the Nordic office of UN development programme, said “first and foremost” there is a need for security, border control and capacity of local authorities.

“It is about creating jobs so that people can support themselves. And you have to give young people hope for the future, so they do not join the movement such as Boko Haram,” Bruckner said.

Bruckner was pleased that the discussion largely focused on long-term plans and emphasized the importance of immediate action by the international community.

There are about 2.6 million internally displaced persons around Lake Chad, most of them located in Nigeria. One million children are out of school due to the escape or lack of access to schools, while additional 1.3 million have lost chance for education as a result of the Boko Haram’s violence.


Nigeria renews commitment to save Lake Chad Basin from shrinking

ABUJA, (Xinhua) -- Nigeria has renewed its commitment to saving the Lake Chad Basin from shrinking, Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu said Friday.

The move to revitalize the Lake Chad Basin is aimed at reducing the impact of climate change in Nigeria and other surrounding countries, Adamu told reporters in Abuja.

“The seriousness of the problem of Lake Chad prompted the desire to mobilize better and sustainable options to tackle the problem,” he said.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has identified climate change, food crisis, security, as well as the displacement of people, terrorism and extremism as some of the issues around the lake.

The Lake Chad Basin is about eight percent of the size of Africa, shared by Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad.

In the 1960s, the lake had the land space of about 25,000 square kilometers but reduced to 2,500 square kilometers in 1985 and later increased to 4,698 square kilometers in 2013.

Nigerian authorities said, as part of the moves to save the shrinking lake, the country has held bilateral meetings with stakeholders, including UNESCO, on a proposed international conference aimed at addressing the water depletion level of the lake.


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