(Dakar - N’Djamena, 27 August 2015) – The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, today completed a four-day visit to Chad during which he travelled to the Lake Chad region to assess the humanitarian impact of ongoing crisis in the Lake Chad Basin. At the end of his visit, Toby Lanzer called on the international community to ramp up its support in response to the multi-faceted humanitarian challenges affecting the country. “Chad is the seventh largest refugee-hosting country in the world. Now is the time for the aid community to scale up its support for humanitarian action, especially for people in the Lake Chad region”, said the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator. “Prior to this recent crisis, a quarter of the nation’s population needed humanitarian assistance”.
In the last weeks alone, the worsening security situation in the Lake Chad region forced over 41,000 persons to flee from their homes on islands and relocate to safer areas inland. “Communities witnessed unspeakable atrocities and violence. Entire families are uprooted and now face a very precarious humanitarian situation.
Many fled without anything but the clothes on their backs. People do not have access to sufficient potable water or food, are highly vulnerable to diseases, and are out in the open sleeping under trees”, explained RHC Lanzer.
The ongoing crisis has put additional pressure on the already stretched resources and livelihoods of both those displaced and the communities that host them. Insecurity is preventing many farmers from accessing their lands on the eve of the harvest season which represents a lifeline for most Sahelian communities.
“Some people had to flee their homes a couple of weeks after having planted their crops. The closure of the border between Chad and Nigeria further is impeding trade and disrupting ancestral migration routes for herders and cattle. Fishermen too, are deprived of their livelihoods”, explained Toby Lanzer. “The food security of many families is seriously compromised, much more than usual at this time of the year.
Communities that count amongst the world’s most resilient now fear they won’t have enough to eat”.
Humanitarian teams are on the ground supporting Chadian authorities to respond to vital needs in the Lake Chad basin. However, the volatile security situation and dynamic population movements make the response particularly challenging. In addition to assisting the newly displaced who are scattered across over twenty informal settlements and with host communities, humanitarian teams must also respond to the needs of over 34,000 people who arrived in the past weeks.
This year’s humanitarian appeal for Chad calls for US$ 572 million to address the most pressing needs throughout the country. It is the highest of the nine Sahel countries. To date, only 35 percent of its financial requirements have been met. “Without urgent additional financial support, the humanitarian situation in Chad risk to seriously degrade”, warns Lanzer.
Chad is host to over 750,000 displaced persons, the majority of whom are refugees or Chadian returnees who fled from the Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan. Some 2.4 million people are food insecure and 350,000 children under five year are expected to suffer from of acute malnutrition in 2015. The country is also prone to public health emergencies, with high prevalence of malaria, cholera or measles, while maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. In addition, natural disasters such as droughts and floods regularly hit Chad and affected nearly one million people in 2014 alone.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.