- Around 2 million people have been affected by the poor harvest of 2009-2010 in Chad and they will need food and non-food assistance during this year, according to a new emergency report from the Sahelian country.
The Red Cross of Chad today reports about a growing food crisis in Chad. The organisation has already drawn €170,000 from its own Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to start delivering immediate assistance to some 45,000 Chadians most in need. But the crisis is much larger, the Red Cross warns.
Due to poor, irregular, dispersed and early cessation of the rainfall, bad harvests have been recorded in 2009-10. Yields have been dramatically reduced compared to earlier seasons. Cereal yields were reduced between 45 and 60 percent, oil crop yields 49 to 53 percent and legumes between 63 and 73 percent.
The drought had also resulted in the reduction of the level of rivers, water levels of ouadis, water reserves and irrigation lands and limited cultivation of sorghum and commercial vegetables during the counter season.
As a result, the Chadian Red Cross reports, some 2 million people will need food aid this year. It has also been reported that 750,000 people have been displaced as consequence of the drought and "are in a desperate need of assistance."
The current rate of malnutrition had reached disturbing levels in several districts, the organisation reported. The areas most affected by the drought were named as Kanem, Barh El Gazal and Lac regions, located just north of Lake Chad and the capital, N'djamena.
Responses to the Chadian food crisis are only in their beginning. In addition to Red Cross mapping of the situation and first emergency responses, the government of Chad has by now put in place a response plan.
According to the government plan, the affected population should receive several types of assistance such as the provision of cereals on sale and free distribution; food for work programme and the distribution of seeds for the off seasons and the rainy season; distribution of supplementary food to children under five, pregnant and lactating women.
The N'djamena government has appealed for international emergency aid to assist it implementing its response plan. Foreign partners were urged to engage in projects falling under the government strategy.
After a period of several years with good harvests, most of the Sahel belt countries are now affected by food insecurity. In addition to Chad, the government of neighbouring Niger has issued a food crisis alert, appealing for international food aid.
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