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UN: Shrinking Lake Chad Could Trigger Humanitarian Disaster, 'Ecological Catastrophe'
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NEW YORK, New York -- Lake Chad, once one of the world’s largest water bodies, could disappear in 20 years due to climate change and population pressures, resulting in a humanitarian disaster in central Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today.

The lake – surrounded by Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria – has shrunk by 90 per cent, going from 25,000 square kilometers in 1963 to less than 1,500 square kilometers in 2001.

The 30 million people living in the Lake Chad region are being forced into competing over water, and the drying up of the lake could lead to migration and conflicts, FAO cautioned.

Fish production has recorded a 60 per cent decline, while pasturelands have been degraded, resulting in a shortage of animal feed, livestock and biodiversity.

“The humanitarian disaster that could follow the ecological catastrophe needs urgent interventions,” said Parvis Koohafkan, Director of FAO’s Land and Water Division. “The tragic disappearance of Lake Chad has to be stopped and the livelihoods of millions of people living in this vast area should be safeguarded.”

The agency collaborates with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), founded in 1964 which brings together countries in the region regularly to discuss regulation and control of water use.

A radical change in water management techniques is needed to stem the diminishing flow of water into Lake Chad, according to the body.

Together with the LCBC, FAO will hold a special event – “Saving Lake Chad: A System Under Threat” – in Rome tomorrow during World Food Day in a bid to raise awareness about the disastrous situation in the lake.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

2 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Well thats what you get after years of abusing this lake for agriculture, so don't come crying to me. The worlds population needs thinning by half yet still Catholics are told contraception is bad, Muslims breed and breed for boys and people in the UK get paid to have babies. When is the world going to wake up to the fact every problem from global warming, depleated fish stocks, lack of housing, water shortages, traffic jams, over crowded prisons to dissapearing lakes is down to too many humans on this planet ? Having more than two babies is selfish, undesirable and certainly not needed. When is this topic going to be brought to the table. Humans produce CO2, both directly and indirectly, reduce the population reduce CO2, easy ! This planets population is growing by 10,000 a day, IT MUST STOP.
   comment# 1   - Pablo · Reading, UK · Oct 16, 2009 @ 12:49pm

Always wonder when someone says something down the line "too many humans on this planet" if they count themselves into that number or if they only refer to others..?
   comment# 2   - Camilla · Rome, Italy · Feb 2, 2010 @ 1:00am
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