©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

Two-year-old Amahani, who has been sick for one month, rests in her hut – ©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

The crisis in Africa’s Lake Chad region continues to get worse and continues to be ignored.

These striking images give an insight into this vast emergency.

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

Fatima cradles her one-year-old cousin, Aboubacar, in the hut where she and her family live.

Suffering from the effects of severe acute malnutrition, Aboubacar’s joints have become locked.

The family is living in a camp, on the outskirts of Maiduguri, for people who have fled violence in Nigeria.

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

Aboubacar is weighed at the state hospital. He weighs only 4.74kg. The average weight of a healthy child at that age should be around 9.75kg.  

More than half a million children across the Lake Chad region are suffering from severe acute malnutrition – the most dangerous form of malnutrition.

Sixteen days after first arriving in hospital, Aboubacar sadly died. He was buried in an unmarked gravesite.

“Children are suffering especially. Not a day goes by without a child dying of malnutrition,” said Dominik Stillhart, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

With little food or water, most people forced to flee their homes have to walk for more than three days to reach Maiduguri, in north-eastern Nigeria.

Around 2.6 million people have fled their homes due to conflict in the Lake Chad region – this number has tripled over the last two years.

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

A man walks across the parched land as a dust storm blows.

The situation facing those who have fled their homes is very complex. Some people have been displaced for a very long time, while others have had to flee on multiple occasions.

Generally, it is the recent arrivals to the camps who are most in need of help.

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

Adum, a two-year-old child who has been sick for the past ten days, sits on his father’s knee.

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

Women wait for a Red Cross food distribution at a camp for people forced from their homes by conflict.

Since the beginning of the year, the Red Cross has distributed food to more than 900,000 people in Nigeria.

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

A dust storm sends people running for cover as Red Cross workers distribute food.

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

©MackenzieKnowles-Coursin/ICRC

Men bury the body of a young boy named Abba who died earlier that day. One-year-old Abba had become sick with chicken pox and severe diarrhoea.

Health facilities lack basic medicines, while many health workers have had to flee the violence, further disrupting people’s access to health care.

In Nigeria’s Borno state, 41 per cent of health facilities have reportedly been partially or completely destroyed.

©SylvainCherkaoui/ICRC

©SylvainCherkaoui/ICRC

Abdoulaye, from Damasak, in Nigeria, had to flee his village when it was attacked. He was a motorcycle-taxi driver before. Now he sells unwanted motorcycles in Diffa, Niger.

“I used to earn 7,000-10,000 CFA francs a day. Now I’m lucky if I make 1,000 (about 1.5 US dollars).

“I’m not from Diffa, but it’s too dangerous for me to go back home. And I don’t have the money or the contacts to do anything else.”

©SylvainCherkaoui/ICRC

©SylvainCherkaoui/ICRC

Ari is 18 years old. He left his village after it was attacked. He is now living at camp in Diffa, Niger.

“I got hit, but I was lucky – the bullet went straight through my right cheek,” he said.

“Life is not easy in the camp. When we ran away, the animals ate all the harvest. I only managed to salvage a few bags of rice.”

Time drags by for the young people in the camp.

“I just sit here, doing nothing all day. There’s absolutely nothing here for us,” added Ari.