UNICEF External Situation Report Eastern Chad - 11 Jun 2007

Overall nutrition situation

The high increase of IDPs (internally displaced persons) from 100,000 in January 2007 to about 165,000 today has amplified pressure on the already scarce resources leading to inadequate access to water, sanitation and health services - factors that together with poor child feeding and child care practices and lack of hygiene awareness have caused a raise of malnutrition within certain sites these past few weeks.

Whilst the situation in the IDP sites of Gouroukoun, Koloma, Koubigou remains constant with global acute malnutrition rates (GAM) around 8 per cent and with stable admission rates in therapeutic feeding centres, conditions in the IDP sites at Ade, Gassire and Kerfi are deteriorating with an increase in the number of admissions in therapeutic feeding centres.

A nutrition and mortality survey conducted in May 2007 by MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) France reported 19% of global acute malnutrition and 3.4% of severe acute malnutrition (SAM), while data from NGO partner COOPI indicated 8% GAM, and 0.8 per cent SAM. In the border area to Darfur, ICRC found global malnutrition rates of 65%. These differences are partially due to differences amongst the assessment methodologies deployed by partners.

A representative nutritional survey, covering IDPs and the host population, is now underway by UNICEF, WFP, WHO, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Plan. Results will be available by the end of July and will offer a comparison the nutritional situation of IDPs and host communities.

UNICEF Response

In order to reach a consensus on the appreciation of the nutrition situation amongst IDPs, to identify action needed to fill gaps and with the aim to launch a task force on nutrition, UNICEF as cluster leader for nutrition organized on 8 June 2007 a global coordination meeting in Abeche, reuniting UN agencies, NGOs and the Chadian Ministry of Health. UNICEF's proposition to create a special body to harmonize information gathering and strengthen nutrition activities has been unanimously adopted. A special task force will be an integral part of the existing health-nutrition cluster. Members include UNICEF, WHO UNHCR, WFP, MSF-F, MSF-H, IMC, COOPI, Save the Children, ACTED, CONCERN worldwide, and the Ministry of Health.

Through its' NGO partners, UNICEF provides therapeutic food to 11 Therapeutic Feeding Centres and 12 Supplementary Feeding Centres, together with vaccination, medication, cold chains, medical kits, insecticide-treated bed nets and blankets. Technical support and training of health agents and NGO staff is also assured. As of January 2007, cartons of F-100, F-75 and plumpy nut have been distributed. With regard to the possibility of a further deterioration of the situation 20 tons of additional feeding material - 500 cartons of plumpy nut, 244 cartons F-75, and 366 cartons F-100 - will be pre-positioned until mid June.

Within the coming weeks, UNICEF, as cluster leader for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, will build 84 additional water points and 1,970 latrines within the 12 IDP sites.