07 September 2012

Latest Updates on Chad: Flooding, Locusts and Malnutrition

Malnutrition remains a problem for children in Chad and the situation in the country has been made worse due to recent flooding. According to UNICEF acute malnutrition rates for children under 5 in the 9 regions of Chad that make up the Sahel are above the 15% WHO emergency threshold.

“This survey, it covers children from 0 to 59 months to see what the conditions are in the area of nutrition. When you look at the young population, these children, the serious conditions that they have, shows you already how the population is. If children are in such a dire situation, that means everyone else is,” said Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) Survey Team Leader of the Ouadai region in eastern Chad Temoua Djingwe to UNICEF.

Above average rain is responsible for recent flooding and increased change of locust infections. "The situation is quite worrying, based on analysis of available data," Chad's Agriculture Minister Djimet Adoum told AFP. "After the famine, the ministry is now concerned about flooding of food crops and a locust infestation."

Adoum also explained to AFP that an estimated 632,000 acres of land had been flooded. Locusts are attacking crops in the north and east. The country is responding to minimize the potential damage.

The response continues in Chad by various organizations. USAID says it is providing food vouchers to 8,200 households and will have provided a sum of $7.3 million in vouchers to the people of Chad by the end of the year. It also stresses that it is dedicating resources to longer term solutions including improving access to seeds, agriculture training and establishing community/household gardens.

Meanwhile, UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Health to respond to malnutrition and monitor potentially emerging diseases such as polio, measles and cholera. “We know that the situation will not change tomorrow, and UNICEF is supporting the Government – particularly the Ministry of Health – to try to increase local capacity in terms of health system services coverage, and to try and improve the capacity of the mothers, the fathers and the health system to detect malnutrition in the early stages, as malnutrition is really impacting heavily on the possibility for a child to survive and develop,” explains UNICEF Chad Representative Bruno Maes.