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Humanitarian Situation in Chad Continues to Cause Grave Concern

Child malnourishment, health risks and food insecurity: even in 2013, the need for humanitarian help remains high and requires long-term support, according to ACTED and a group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) consisting of Solidarités International, Concern Worldwide, Merlin, Oxfam, International Rescue Committee, Première Urgence-Aide Medicale Internationale, French Red Cross, InterSOS, International Medical Corps, Action Against Hunger, Medair, CARE, Diakonie, ACRA, Secours Islamique France, Islamic Relief and World Vision.

N’Djamena, June 18, 2013 - The above average 2012 grain harvest following a season of abundant rainfall may lead to believe that the needs of Chad’s most vulnerable population have lessened. Yet, NGOs working in the field are confronted daily with the fact that the level of need continues to remain high and that any decrease in help would have a dramatic impact on an already very fragile situation.

150,000 children are expected to suffer from malnutrition in Chad's Sahel region in 2013Unacceptably high levels of child malnourishment

Results of a 2013 malnutrition study show the ongoing gravity of the problem, with acute malnutrition levels rising above the critical threshold of 15% as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in six areas of the Sahel zone. According to a UNICEF forecast, 150,000 children will be affected by acute severe malnutrition in 2013 - a number similar to the 2012 estimates. In addition, the mortality rate among children under the age of 5 will rise above the emergency level of 2/1000/day in several of the Southern regions.

Access to water and sanitary conditions is still insufficient

The dramatic food situation is compounded by limited access to water, and every effort has to be made to continue to improve that situation. Chad’s level of access to water is among the lowest in the region (only 44% of the population has access to water and 12% disposes of acceptable sanitary facilities.) This considerably raises sanitary risks, the spread of water-borne diseases, and epidemics like cholera.

Continued food insecurity for many households

Based on preliminary results of a March 2013 Evaluation of Food Security of Rural Households in Chad’s Sahel and Southern Zones, 2.1 million people are still in a state of food insecurity; of those, 13% are categorized as severely endangered. Pockets of food insecurity exist in seven Sahel zone regions as well as seven Eastern zones, mostly because of the 2011/2012 food crisis concerning in particular the poorest households.

A Must: Develop self-reliance among the population

For over 10 years, Chad has experienced recurring crises (drought, flooding, conflicts in the East) which has substantially destabilized household economy. Every crisis that befalls the country undermines the efforts undertaken to develop self-reliance, as the recent influx of refugees from Sudan into the Dar Sila region has made glaringly obvious again. Today, Chad is in a recovery phase the outcome of which will determine the population’s ability to deal with future catastrophes caused by a hostile environment and harsh climatic conditions that will strike again and again.

Building community and institutional capacities

In order to ensure better resistance to future crises it is important to reduce the effects of past crises. This can be accomplished by an extension of efforts at the decisive moment when it is necessary to

  • Strengthen human and healthcare resources (especially those of healthcare staff)
  • Tap into support from national prevention systems and food and nutrition crisis management
  • Guide healthcare facilities in tackling malnutrition issues
  • Improve and ensure water access through increasing the number of good quality water resources and networks
  • Build sanitation infrastructures to diminish the risk of spread of diseases
  • Improve hygienic practices
  • Help recapitalize vulnerable indebted households
  • Improve agricultural techniques

In order to maximize the efficiency of any intervention, it is imperative to enable authorities, humanitarian help organizations, and investors and donors to synchronize their response to the challenges of the transition period and humanitarian emergencies. Delivering swift and efficient humanitarian help to prevent further destabilization of the affected regions remains a priority in a context where natural or humanitarian disasters recur frequently.

We, the NGOs, are concerned to see Chad in a situation where the means for humanitarian help decrease while at the same time funds earmarked for the developmental transition phase take increasingly longer to be allocated. Chad continues to have low visibility in world news even though the nation’s needs are pressing and rightfully belong high up on the international help agenda.

We therefore appeal to the key players and institutions of the international solidarity not to let Chad fall off the radar at this critical juncture where community progress is possible but is at risk of rapidly disintegrating if faced with yet another challenge, however small.

For additional information, contact :

Adrien Tomarchio

Communication & Development Manager

+33 1 42 65 33 33 - communication@acted.org

www.acted.org

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