Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Experts it's not possible to blame the lake's crisis on one single factor

Bordered by Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, Lake Chad has in the last 50 years shrunk by 90 percent. Approaching from Gulfe, a small locality 27 miles from Cameroon's Far North Regional capital Maroua, the atmosphere of neglect is everywhere apparent. There is dusty air, fierce and unrelenting winds, wilting plants and sand dunes. This once verdant area is quickly growing sterile and sere, devastating the area surrounding it.

'Desertification, climate change as well as the continuous diversion of water from the rivers that feed the lake is responsible,' environmentalist Paul Ghogomou of the University of Yaounde in Cameroon says.

"Desertification, climate change as well as the continuous diversion of water from the rivers that feed the lake is responsible," environmentalist Paul Ghogomou of the University of Yaounde in Cameroon says.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Lake Chad, m Chad, dwindling resources, tributaries, ocean, desertification


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Due to sparse rainfall, the two main rivers that feed the lake, the Chari and the Logone are bringing in less and less water each year.

Those who have relied for generations on the rich soil of this basin are now scrambling as the great lake vanishes before their very eyes.

On the banks of the lake, Mahamat Aboubakar is disentangling a tiny black catfish from a large net.

"Before, you needed to cast the net just a few times to get thousands of fish," fisherman Mahamat Aboubakar says. "But today, it may require a whole day's work to get this," he says, pointing to his paltry catch, worth only about two dollars, likely to be his only income for the day.

The 64-year old fisherman could earn as much as 50 dollars during the lake's heyday. He can only expect his catch to get smaller and his income dwindling along with it, as the lake's waters continue to recede.

"This is a disaster," Sanusi Imran Abdullahi, executive director of the Lake Chad Basin Commission says. "It is already taking its toll on residents around the lake," he adds. In order to prevent a potentially catastrophic situation, "we are working to save Lake Chad and the 30 million people whose livelihoods depend on the natural resources" of this water body.

However - experts point out that it is impossible to blame the crisis on one single factor.

"Desertification, climate change as well as the continuous diversion of water from the rivers that feed the lake is responsible," environmentalist Paul Ghogomou of the University of Yaounde in Cameroon says.

Ghogomou explains that water from Cameroon's Chari River - which, fed by its tributary, the Logone, provides over 90 percent of Lake Chad's water is being diverted to irrigation projects in the surrounding area.

In the meantime, dams built along the Jama'are and Hadejia Rivers in northeastern Nigeria are "partly responsible for the shrinkage," he says.

The growing population around the area is stretching the lake to breaking point. "Forty years ago, the population within the Lake Chad area was about 17 million. Now, we number about 30 million. So rising demand by the population, the rising numbers of livestock as well as massive evaporation as a result of climate change have all combined to shrink the lake," he notes.

The local farmers and fishermen are showing resilience, adapting as best they can to a looming crisis. If the lake does not return, however, even the remaining humidity left by its receding waters will evaporate, and farmers will be left with few options for a livelihood.

Can this disaster be averted? In an effort to implement more sustainable solutions, member countries of the LCBC - Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and the Central African Republic have developed an ambitious plan to replenish the lake with water from the Obangui, a tributary of the Congo River.

The project will involve the "construction of a retention dam at Palambo (upstream of the CAR's capital Bangui) to serve as a catchment area. The high flow through pumping will then enter River Fafa - a tributary of Ouham - and by gravity through a 1,350-kilometre-long feeder channel in to the River Chari in Cameroon and then to Lake Chad.

"There is so much water in the Congo that goes into the ocean. We are just going to take a fraction of it to save the lives of 30 million people who depend on the lake for their survival," he says.

A version of this story was first published by Inter Press Service news agency.

.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Africa

As the Ebola outbreak death toll rises, Britain puts out a plea to international researchers everywhere Watch

Image of The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has caused the deaths of more than 1,300 people, and currently seems beyond control even as experimental drugs are raced to the affected regions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Wellcome Trust and the United kingdom's Department for International Development put out a plea for researchers around the world to help fight the Ebola outbreak which is ravaging West Africa, the largest outbreak of the deadly disease in history. LOS ... continue reading


DEATH TOLL SOARS UPWARD: Ebola deaths now into the thousands Watch

Image of Liberia has had the most deaths in a two-day period. The World Health Organization is working on getting food sent to areas hit hardest.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The death toll from Ebola, the incurable virus that sends the body into meltdown has soared past the one thousand mark in West Africa. The known death toll at this time stands at 1,200. Liberia has had the most deaths in a two-day period. The World Health ... continue reading


Riot forces Ebola infected patients to flee! Watch

Image of Aid workers carry the body of an Ebola victim, more than 1,000 have died of the virus.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Seventeen people, suspected to be infected with the Ebola virus, are missing in Liberia after a health center in the capital city of Monrovia was attacked, the Liberian government reported, disregarding their previous reports that no patients were missing, and ... continue reading


100 boys kidnapped by Nigerian terrorists to become child soldiers Watch

Image of An image of Boko Haram gunmen taken from a video filmed by the terrorist group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fighters from the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram have reportedly abducted nearly 100 boys and men during a raid on a village in the country's northeast, witnesses reported. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Villagers who escaped the August 17 raid on Doron ... continue reading


NO EARLY END IN SIGHT: A million people directly affected by Ebola outbreak Watch

Image of The latest figures have recorded 128 new cases of Ebola virus disease, as well as 56 deaths.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Once confined to West Africa, the deadly Ebola virus now threatens every city on Earth with an international airport. The World Health Organization has given the world a most grim prognosis; there are currently one million people in the world today directly ... continue reading


Get out of Africa! U.S. tells embassy families to leave Ebola stricken regions Watch

Image of More than 1,000 people have died in the West Africa Ebola outbreak, history's worst outbreak ever recorded.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

United States officials have told the families of American diplomats in Sierra Leone to leave the country to avoid becoming infected by the deadly Ebola virus which is ravaging that country and other West African states. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The ... continue reading


The Mummy Lives! Mummification practice much older than previously thought Watch

Image of Discovered in the more extravagant graves, the remains suggested that only the privileged people in this ancient society were preserved.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The phrase, as old as a mummy has taken on new significance with a recent scientific discovery. Researchers now believe that the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification may date back 1,500 years earlier than previously thought. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


With only a dozen doses of medicine, Liberia faces an ethical crisis Watch

Image of Liberia has received an experimental drug which may provide a cure to the terrible Ebola outbreak that is devastating the country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Already struggling with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, the West African nation of Liberia is facing an excruciating choice-deciding who will receive Zmapp, an experimental drug that could prove life-saving. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The drug arrived ... continue reading


Catholic nun dies before experimental drug reaches Liberia Watch

Image of The World Health Organization reports that over 1,000 people have died in the Ebola outbreak which began in March of 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Spanish-based San Juan de Dios hospital order has reported that a Catholic nun who was working in Liberia has died of the Ebola virus. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The order reported that Sister Chantal Pascaline from the Congo died on August 9 "from Ebola ... continue reading


Eperimental Ebola drug heads to Africa after World Health panel gives ethical A-O-K! Watch

Image of More than 1,000 people have died in this Ebola epidemic that has been going on since early 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An experimental drug created to treat Ebola made by the San Diego-based biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceuticals Inc. had its first three doses used to treat two Americans and a Spanish missionary, and is now on its way to Liberia after the World Health Organization ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 36:23-28
23 I am going to display the holiness of my great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19
12 Give me back the joy of your salvation, sustain in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14
1 Jesus began to speak to them in parables once ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 21st, 2014 Image

St. Pius X
August 21: On June 2, 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto saw the light of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter