As part of its effort to assist vulnerable communities in Africa’s Lake Chad Basin, the European Commission has announced the release of an additional €138 million in humanitarian and developmental aid to be added to its €232 million aid package for the region.

The Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, told a high-level conference on the Lake Chad region held in Berlin that the effects of the area’s armed conflicts “have hit hard a region already affected by poverty and the extreme consequences of climate change. The EU is committed to continuing to help those who are the most vulnerable…All parties involved in the conflict affecting the area must guarantee full access to the entire region so that our help can reach those who need it.”

Violence caused by Islamic State in West Africa – known more commonly as “Boko Haram” – and counter-insurgency operations in the Lake Chad Basin have resulted in one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world with up to 10.8 million people affected, the overwhelming majority of whom require critical humanitarian support.

“The humanitarian situation remains worrying and we must also prepare the region for the transition from conflict to peace. Our new aid package will be used to invest in social services and to fight against poverty, environmental degradation, and the effects of climate change. We will also strengthen some of our existing programmes in northeastern Nigeria,” said Neven Mimica, Europe’s Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.

Since Boko Haram launched its violent terror campaign in the region in 2011,  the local population has been subject to a horrific campaign of attacks on civilians and mass abductions. Of the 17 million people directly suffering from the consequences of the crisis, more than seven million are believed to suffer from malnourishment. Nearly one out of every three women in the region are reported to have experienced sexual violence committed by members of Boko Haram, the security forces, and armed militia groups during the conflict.