A delegation of U.N. Security Council ambassadors are on a four-country mission to the Lake Chad Basin to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency on the region’s population.
The diplomats began their mission Friday in Yaounde, Cameroon, with Prime Minister Philemon Yang, who told them his country was struggling to cope with the 85,000 refugees it hosts from Nigeria and the more than 150,000 who have fled sectarian violence in the neighboring Central African Republic.
Cameroon has also seen nearly 200,000 of its own citizens displaced by Boko Haram as the terrorists spread into isolated and insecure areas in the Far North Region along the Nigerian border.
The Lake Chad Basin, which encompasses parts of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, has also been affected by poor governance and climate change.
Yang said the war against Boko Haram had come at a high cost to Cameroon.
“We are asking that the international community give us support, that the international community support our programs, support us financially and especially support us eventually for economic development in the region,” he said.
After the Yaounde visit, the council ventured 90 minutes north by plane to Maroua, to meet with civil society group members, displaced persons, refugees and humanitarians to discuss the situation.
“We came in order to show this will no longer be a neglected crisis,” British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said. He added the diplomats had come to shine a spotlight on the growing humanitarian crisis.
The delegation continued to N’Djamena, Chad, which is also struggling with chronic poverty and the effects of about 400,000 displaced persons from the region.
Chad is one of the least developed countries in the world, and the humanitarian crisis is pushing it to the brink. More than 4 million people — nearly a third of the population — are food insecure.
The ambassadors were to meet Saturday with the command of the Multinational Joint Task Force a military force made up of troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin, all of whom are fighting Boko Haram. The diplomats will then continue to Niger and Nigeria.