African leaders appeal for shrinking Lake Chad, hit by climate change and violence

Dec 14, 2015 During the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Paris, African leaders made an appeal for the revival of Lake Chad, which has been shrinking due to climate change.

The lake’s dwindling resources has also destroyed the livelihoods of thousands who live in the region.

While speaking at the conference, Nouridine Zaharia Toure, a traditional chief from Mali said:

“Unfortunately we don’t talk about it. We only talk about migration linked to the wars in Syria and Iraq. We talk about immigration by sea, immigration through the Sahel. But the fact remains that there is climate change, which has made life impossible for those living in those areas, where agriculture and pastoral productions have declined massively. It’s hard for people to make a living and people are forced to travel far and risk their lives to make a living,”

Lake Chad, which used to be one of Africa’s largest water body, is now a just a twentieth of its former size. As the waters recedes, land that was once fertile has turned dusty and barren.

Niger’s president Mahamadou Issoufou also said:

“Innocent citizens are being kidnapped, tortured and slaughtered. Their houses are burnt, and their possessions are stolen by lawless terrorists. There is a tight link between Lake Chad shrinking and the territory that Boko Haram occupies in the region. Along with permanent insecurity, there is also a disastrous economic situation that is characterized by fragile environment on which there are thousands of refugees and displaced people, as well as famine and other diseases. We need to act and act now, before it’s too late,”

During the meeting, a 10 year revival plan was proposed by the African Development Bank which is expected to cost in excess of 14 billion U.S. dollars.

While addressing the conference delegates, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, said:

“Your excellencies, we must now act decisively on five areas. First we must revive the Lake Chad basin. Doing so will boost rural economic activity and build economic resilience across Nigeria, Niger Chad and Cameroon. It will arrest the dangerous influx of terrorists, who take advantage of shrinking of Lake Chad to destabilize the region,”

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