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UN council addresses crisis in Lake Chad region

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A delegation of the United Nations Security Council visiting the Lake Chad region held a press conference on Sunday in Niger to try to address a crisis that’s been described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The 15-member delegation hopes to draw global attention to the emergency affecting 21 million people across Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

“The purpose of our visit was to shed light on the situation in Niger, in the Lake Chad basin, in the neighbouring countries. We do not want this humanitarian crisis, the terrorism crisis either to be forgotten or overlooked, and we’re here to shed light on the situation here,” said Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations.

The humanitarian emergency afflicting the area was triggered by the Boko Haram insurgency, which erupted in Nigeria in 2009. Poor governance and climate change has also been a powerful contributor to the crisis.

“I think the challenge for the Security Council is precisely to find a link between these different approaches that we have to tackle, to address these issues at the same time on the short-term, issues related to security, long term issues, development issues as I have said as well as issues related to the different types of trafficking that fuel these conflicts,” said Alexis Lamek, the Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations.

The United Nations is seeking $1.5 billion in funding for 2017 for the Lake Chad region — almost half of which is needed for northeast Nigeria, where 5.1 million people face acute food shortages.

The UN envoys are visiting all four nations on their mission, which began Friday in Cameroon and will end Monday in Abuja.

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