lake chad basin crisis (update): chad
While the people of the Lake Chad Basin continue to battle Boko Haram, one of the world's deadliest terrorist groups, another enemy has been steadily advancing for decades. The encroaching Sahara desert is threatening the livelihoods of more than 30 million people who depend on the basin for survival, exacerbating the current man-made crisis that has displaced over 2.4 million across Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon. Warnings from the government and aid organizations are clear that if and when Boko Haram is defeated, another crisis looms over this war-torn area and will further destabilize this already fragile region.
Lake Chad has decreased in size by almost 90 percent in the last 60 years. Historical evidence and local knowledge has proven that the level of the lake fluctuates drastically over long periods of time but desertification, deforestation, climate change, resource mismanagement and massive numbers of displaced persons are not allowing the basin to replenish itself. Whole villages have followed the shrinking shoreline for decades, following the lush fertile landscape as it moves farther away from their original homes. People living in villages along the lakeshore have watched large pools of water reduced over time revealing farmable land. But that too began to disappear as increasing winds pushed sand in from the desert. Now the dry Sahel lies just beyond the lush greenery of the land surrounding the lake, as the waters of Lake Chad meet the desert after just a few hundred feet.
(Published-National Geographic 2017)