Chad: Humanitarian Response and Long-term Recovery Must Go Hand in Hand, United Nations Officials Say

(N’Djamena, 7 October 2018): The United Nations Development Programme Administrator, Achim Steiner, and the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, today wrapped up their first joint visit in Chad. They called for stronger joined-up humanitarian and development interventions in the central African country as it tackles poverty, displacement, malnutrition, and lack of access to basic social services.

The United Nations’ top humanitarian and development officials, visited a nutrition centre in the capital’s Chad-China Friendship Hospital, where more than 16,000 children suffering from malnutrition are admitted annually. This year, the number of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) cases increased by 57 per cent in the facility managed by the Ministry of Public Health, with support from international partners and donors.

“I was profoundly touched by the plight of the women and children I met in the nutrition centre in N’Djamena today,” Mr. Lowcock said. “I commend the efforts and actions undertaken to deal with one of the biggest nutrition crises the people of Chad have faced. But the bigger challenge is to prevent children being in this position to start with. Humanitarian assistance can save lives, but the solution is development, economic progress and better livelihoods. The United Nations stands ready to support the Government, who must lead in this process.”

In N’Djamena, the two UN officials also met with senior government officials and parliamentarians, and discussed plans for national development, poverty reduction, the regional situation, and the recent Lake Chad Basin Region conference in Berlin. Mr. Lowcock and Mr. Steiner called for stronger government leadership and longer-term commitments from all stakeholders, including donors, to support the emergency needs of vulnerable households and increased access to basic social services for all.

“The challenges the country faces have roots in development deficits and climatic realities that have made living conditions for communities caught up in the crisis, even worse,” Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator said, adding that there was urgent need for a scale up in the response.

Around 4.9 million people are in need of urgent support, with the majority of them food insecure. Over half a million are in need of shelter: “We call upon our partners to engage in multiyear financing to facilitate mid and longer-term planning. Stepping up now will help us address the crisis today, tackle the underlying causes and help people build resilience to better cope with and be able to stand on their own after the crisis,” Mr. Steiner added.

The humanitarian response plan 2018 in Chad requires US$544 million to respond to the needs of the 2.1 million people who are the most vulnerable in the country. To date, only 35.6 per cent of the funding has been received. Additionally, the Government of the Republic of Chad aims to mobilize over $430 million for resilience and sustainable development in the Lake Chad Basin. This investment will be used to improve delivery of basic social services and stimulate growth in the agriculture sector upon which millions in rural areas depend.

This visit concludes a three-day trip to Nigeria and Chad, during which the two UN officials looked at ways both humanitarian and development actors can better support national support efforts, including in the Lake Chad Basin crisis. While in Nigeria, Mr. Steiner and Mr. Lowcock called for more support to ease the humanitarian crisis and rebuild lives in conflict-ravaged north-eastern part of the country.

For further information and interviews, please contact:
Augustin Zusanne (OCHA Chad): Tel: +235 63 90 09 13, zusanne@un.org
Toussaint Mbaitoubam (UNDP Chad): +235 66 27 50 33, Toussaint.mbaitoubam@undp.org
Jens Laerke (OCHA Geneva): +41 79 472 9760, laerke@un.org
Christina LoNigro (UNDP New York) +1 212 906 5301, christina.lonigro@undp.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.