Shortly before the start of an international conference at the Federal Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his concern over the length of the neighboring states of Lake Chad in Africa.

Berlin Conference

There plays “one of the largest humanitarian dramas of our time,” the SPD politician told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

The region has become “the playground” for terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and the IS, which are also a threat to European security, Maas said. “We can not afford to look the other way if the neighbors of our neighbors are destabilized.”

Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria belong to the neighboring states of the lake on the southern edge of the Sahara. According to the Foreign Office, 2.3 million people are internally displaced in the region, so more than 200,000 people are on the run. More than ten million people depend on humanitarian aid.

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides described the refugee crisis there as “one of the most serious on the African continent”. He was “very concerned about the humanitarian situation in the region of Lake Chad,”.

The two-day conference will start on Monday at 10:15 in Berlin. It addresses issues such as stabilization and development cooperation in the region. Invited countries are Germany, Nigeria, Norway and the United Nations. More than 50 delegations are expected.

Last week Chancellor Angela Merkel spent three days in West Africa, visiting Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria – also to explore how the urge of many migrants to Europe can be slowed down (read more about the trip to Africa and “Merkel’s Dilemma”