West Africa's Lake Chad region is the world's most neglected humanitarian crisis, where poverty and desertification have been compounded by violence caused by Boko Haram, the U.N. aid chief said on Tuesday at the World Humanitarian Summit.
The gap between the suffering and the humanitarian response may be bigger than in Syria, Iraq or Yemen, a senior Red Cross official said.
Violence has forced more than 2.4 million people to flee their homes in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, according to the United Nations. Many families have been displaced several times. Up to 90 percent are sheltering in host communities.
Both the displaced and their hosts need emergency aid where farming has been curtailed by the violence, deepening food shortages and hunger, U.N. officials said.
More than 480,000 children could die unless they urgently receive food aid, they added.
"Lake Chad Basin ... at this stage is the most under reported, the most underfunded and the least addressed of the big crises we face," U.N. aid chief Stephen O'Brien said.
Climate change and lack of resources have already caused terrible suffering, and this has been compounded by the brutality wreaked by Boko Haram, he added.
"We have humanitarian needs now in that part of the world on a scale which is unprecedented," said O'Brien, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
This year, the United Nations has appealed for $535 million for the region. Last year's appeal was just over 40 percent funded.
Some 3 million people face severe food insecurity in the region, the majority in northeast Nigeria. In the far north of Cameroon, the number urgently needing food aid has quadrupled in the last year, according to U.N. figures.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said it was rapidly scaling up its response to avoid a "famine-like situation".
"Across Lake Chad, where farming is possible but not practical because so much insecurity exists, the crisis disrupts trade, and the pastoral and agricultural lean season has come two months early," said WFP head Ertharin Cousin.
Culled from Dailymail UK