2019 Photo Contest, World Press Photo Story of the Year Nominee

The Lake Chad Crisis


Marco Gualazzini


17 October, 2018

The carcass of a cow lies on the road outside Dar es Salam, Chad, in a region badly affected by drought.

A humanitarian crisis is underway in the Chad Basin, caused by a complex combination of political conflict and environmental factors. Lake Chad—once one of Africa’s largest lakes and a lifeline to 40 million people—is experiencing massive desertification. As a result of unplanned irrigation, extended drought, deforestation and resource mismanagement, the size of the lake has decreased by 90 percent over the past 60 years. Traditional livelihoods such as fishing have withered, and water shortages are causing conflict between farmers and cattle herders. Jihadist group Boko Haram, which is active in the area, both benefits from the hardship and widespread hunger and contributes to it. The group uses local villages as a recruiting ground, and the protracted conflict has uprooted 2.5 million people, exacerbating food insecurity.

The project was funded by InsideOver.

About the photographer

Marco Gualazzini

Born in Parma in 1976, Marco Gualazzini began his career as a photographer in 2004, with his home town’s local daily, La Gazzetta di Parma.His works include reportage photo...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
28 mm
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

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