Whilst the global community unites for Libya’s war against Colonel Muamar Gaddafi, thousands of whom come face to face with the opposition each and every day and now month by month are desperately trying to escape an escalating and ever life-threatening conflict that has taken grip of Libya.
As of May 2011, over 60,000 returnees are estimated whilst 30,000 to 40,000 Chadians remain hopelessly homeward bound, stuck in the heart of the war zone unable to return home. In response, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) are currently engaged in negotiations for establishing a humanitarian corridor. With over 300,000 Chadians expected to have resided in Libya prior to the civil war, more arrivals are expected.
ACF is increasingly concerned about the epidemic crises of which has now exacerbated to worrying levels. Cholera remains persistent and perpetual throughout the country, particularly in the southwest region. In Ndajmena over 100 cases of cholera have been reported - already exceeding the total number of cases recorded in 2010. Thankfully, meningitis is largely under control owed to the large-scale vaccination efforts led by MSF. In terms of measles, multiple immunization campaigns implemented from April to May by our peer humanitarian agencies as supported by ACF has suppressed further spread.
According to the government, only 6% of households use proper latrines while 88% defecate in the open in Chad. Since waste water disposal systems are often inadequate or non-existent, during the rainy season houses and latrines flood and contaminated water collects in stagnant pools. Cholera is a waterborne disease -because potable water is often unavailable, majority of families drink water from open wells or rivers. As a life-saving solution, with the approach of the rainy season it is critical for adequate sanitation to be in place and in time. In response, Action Against Hunger are currently formulating our plan of action to urgently meet the needs for better quality and life-saving sanitation.
Current challenges to our project
As we approach the middle of 2011, the conditions for crop production and pastoral rearing continue to improve dramatically – both climatically and in terms of trade. Nevertheless, the losses from the drought in 2009 and floods in 2010 have made positive gains and development impossible. Sadly the scars of the successive emergency crises remain deep, to be healed over time.
According to the Famine Early Warning Network (FEWSNET) cereal production has hit a record 85%, exceeding the five -year average (2005-2010). However in rural communities, majority of households remain indebted from the droughts and floods that took place in 2009 and 2010. These households are likely to use part of their harvest for repayments in 2011 and will remain in a vicious cycle of food insecurity irrespective of the excellent harvest conditions.
The loss of livestock in 2009 and 2010 has also rendered prolonged food insecurity, particularly in the poorest pastoral households. Despite exceptionally good pastoral conditions, herd sizes in livestock-rearing communities remain forecasted at 50-60% due to the loss of livestock in previous years.
In terms of trading conditions, although price ceilings are no longer constrained its effects are still felt across the region, especially in areas with existing food shortages in the Sahel. To add, the neighboring conflict in Libya has led to the suspension of all food supplies from Libya to Chad. Since pastoral areas have a strong demand and dependency for grain, grain prices are forecasted to rise in pastoral zones.
The humanitarian situation in Chad is a complex one. With a history of extremely poor food security, the added pressures of the recent migrant crisis, Libyan conflict and growing concerns of a widespread cholera epidemic, have made the path to recovery extremely challenging and long-winded. Nonetheless, above all it is the lasting and prevailing impact of the past humanitarian events that has presented the greatest obstacle.
The nurturing pastoral and agricultural conditions are key to establishing a more positive livelihood for Chad’s families and communities. According to United Nations a high prevalence of Acutely Malnourished children continues to persist in Chad, particularly in the Bahr el Ghazel region – a region that ACF operates in. Where over 1 million children and their families in Chad are estimated to have yet recovered from the droughts in 2009 and floods in 2010, it is essential for Action Against Hunger to continue its work in supporting these children and their families to ensure their leap towards a positive and more affluent livelihood.
Thank you for helping your beneficiaries to help themselves to establish a healthier and more sustainable future. Your support has been a critically life-saving yet simple solution to Chad’s protracted food and nutrition crisis. We hope you will be able to help us further in bringing long-term positive change and happier future to the Bahr el Ghazel region, Chad.