Lake Chad, which borders Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon in West Africa, has been a source of freshwater for in all of these countries. Maps drawn from satellite images show the dramatic decrease in the size of the lake over the past 30 years, due to climate change and to high demands for agricultural water.

The changes in the lake have contributed to local lack of water, crop failures, livestock deaths, collapsed fisheries, soil salinity and increasing poverty throughout the region. All of this has turned the region into a hotbed of tribal violence and terrorism, particularly by Islamist Boko Haram – and led to 1.5 million people fleeing the region between 2009 and the end of 2014.

Lake Chad (Images by NASA)
Lake Chad
(Images by NASA)