Oslo conference raises US $672 million for Lake Chad region crisis

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UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien speaking at the conference in Oslo. UNifeed screengrab,

A total of US $672 million was raised on Friday at a humanitarian conference in Oslo, Norway, to address the crisis in the Lake Chad region, the UN says.

Co-hosted by the Scandinavian country, Nigeria, Germany and the UN, the meeting aimed to address the huge crisis unfolding in a region where 17 million lives are at risk.

A civil society meeting was also held on the same day, with a large participation from local organizations working in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Jocelyne Sambira has the details.

Friday’s donor pledges sent a strong signal to the world that catastrophes like famine can be averted, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said at the close of the Oslo donor conference on Friday.

The money is earmarked to help people affected by the emergency in the countries that make up the Lake Chad Region like Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The UN and its partners were able to raise a third of the US $1.5 billion appeal to donors “in just one morning”, Mr O’Brien confirmed.

Speaking to reporters, he said he was thankful for the donations.

“We can stop and reverse a further descent into an ever-deepening crisis with unimaginable consequences for the millions of people and an entire generation of children and youth. And so with those governments, in concert with those governments and the leadership in-country, the local governments, we the international community, representing all the people behind the governments of those who donate, we the humanitarians, the ICRC, the NGOs, international and local can bring hope.”

The Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, that triggered the crisis, is one of the deadliest in the world, warned the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Goeffrey Onyeama.

As civilians come out of the areas liberated by a West African regional force created to combat the insurgents, he said, the Nigerian government is facing new challenges to feed, house and protect them.

UN Humanitarian Chief O’Brien also launched the “Nigeria Humanitarian Fund” to support life-saving operations in the North-East.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’41”

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