BOL, CHAD, 2018

Lake Chad is essential to the livelihood of the residents of its shores who are at risk as it dries up


© Marco Gualazzini / Contrasto


Lake Chad’s surface area has shrunk by 90% over the past 60 years as extreme drought creates one of the world’s most serious humanitarian crises.
Local residents have always depended on the conditions of the lake, since their economy is based on agriculture, fishing and farming.
Today, the lake is in serious danger not only because of irresponsible use of water resources through the construction of dams and excessive channelling for the irrigation of agricultural land, but also because of the increase in temperatures and a reduction in rainfall caused by climate change.
Even before the advent of adverse weather conditions, local populations were living in a climate of severe social tension due to widespread drought-induced poverty.
Then, there is also strong population growth and a climate of terror created by the terrorist organisation Boko Haram. All of these factors make it obvious why the current situation is more critical than ever. To date, 2.3 million people have been displaced, while nearly 11 million require emergency assistance: five million people suffer hunger, with 500,000 children acutely malnourished.
An adequate food supply depends on the availability of basic foodstuffs (essentially grains), food security, and drinking water. In many parts of Africa, South America, and South East Asia, these three elements are also under serious threat from other, mainly anthropogenic, activities: perverse political-economic mechanisms have triggered a sharp decline in primary resources such as water and food, leading to bitter social conflicts.

Luca Ferrari