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 July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Africa

Obianuju Ekeocha: An African woman's Thank-you Letter to Meriam Ibrahim Watch

Image of Pope Francis giving a blessing to Meriam and her youngest child

By Obianuju Ekeocha

You, my African sister, have become a lightning rod to the radical feminists of our times who repudiate and denigrate every virtue that you epitomize. Within your body, you have borne the marks and scars of a true Christian,a wife, a mother and a martyr, and in ... continue reading


Liberia closes its borders in order to halt spread of Ebola Watch

Image of Liberian President Sirleaf has placed restrictions on public gatherings and ordered hotels, restaurants and other entertainment venues to play a five-minute video on Ebola safety.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In response to the rapidly escalating spread of the Ebola virus throughout West Africa, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has closed most of his country's borders. What points of entry that remain open will have Ebola testing centers and will implement ... continue reading


A second American has been confirmed to have Ebola in Africa Watch

Image of The Ebola epidemic that has been ravaging Africa since early 2014 has now infected its second America.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Officials in the region have confirmed that a second American has tested positive for the Ebola virus, at the same Liberian hospital where an American doctor became infected with the virus previously. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A vice president of ... continue reading


Newest nation in the world now faces mass starvation Watch

Image of More than a million people have fled their homes since fighting erupted between different factions of South Sudan's ruling party last December.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Begun as an effort to establish economic independence from Sudan, South Sudan became the world's youngest nation a few short years ago. Now - with fighting threatening to plunge the nation in to civil war, the United Nations has declared South Sudan's current ... continue reading


ANOTHER PLANE - VANISHES! Air Algerie flight with 116 people onboard drops off radar Watch

Image of The plane in question, the MD-83 is part of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 family of twin-engine, single-aisle jets. The plane belongs to a private Spanish company, Swiftair, but it appears to have been operated by Air Algerie.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In yet another horrific airline disaster in a year full of them, an Air Algerie flight with 116 people on board has simply - dropped off the radar. The flight operator says that the plane has apparently crashed in somewhere in the West African nation of Mali. ... continue reading


LOOKING GRIM: Sierra Leone's chief Ebola doctor contracts the virus Watch

Image of The WHO says that of the 632 deadly Ebola cases, 206 people had died in Sierra Leone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" in Sierra Leone by the health ministry, had been leading the fight to control the recent Ebola outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country. Tragically, the 39-year-old medic has now contracted the ... continue reading


GRIEF TAKES TOLL: At least 11 parents of abducted Nigerian schoolgirls have died Watch

Image of Martha Mark, the mother of kidnapped school girl Monica Mark cries as she displays her photo, in the family house, in Chibok, Nigeria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Grief and worry takes its toll on human health. Ever since more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by the Boko Haram terror group three months ago, four of their parents have died from heart failure; seven of the girls' fathers were killed in an attack ... continue reading


Nigerian military swears to retake town after massacre by Muslims Watch

Image of The anti-education Muslim group, Boko Haram, attacked a town in northeast Nigeria, displacing 15,000 and killing more than 60 people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram has continued its reign of terror, leaving dozens dead in the northeast Nigerian town of Damboa during a July 17 raid, Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reports. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


How malnutrition kills, and a painful look at the South Sudan crisis Watch

Image of Parents don't like to see their children die and will save them if they can but with limited resources available, difficult choices are made and babies pay the price.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With hundreds of thousands of people, especially children expected to die in South Sudan in the coming months, attention is finally being focused on malnutrition and starvation and the painful process of death which accompanies those conditions. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Mysteries of the Pyramids - Previously hidden painting depicts life in ancient Egypt Watch

Image of The painting depicts what life was like 4,300 years ago in Egypt. It shows boats sailing south on the Nile and also agricultural images. The painting could also have symbolic meaning for life in ancient Egypt. Inside the tomb were also found statues of the 'priest' including his wife and what looks like a dog.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Found about 1,000 feet to the east of the Great Pyramid of Giza, a 4,300 year-old wall painting has been found. The artwork gives a rare peek into the life and times of ancient Egypt. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Discovered in a tomb for a "priest," the ... 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, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... 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