Towards a Worsening Humanitarian Crisis in Chad

Uncertainty is the only current outcome given the ongoing military confrontation in Chad. The humanitarian situation was dire before fighting erupted last week, but Action Against Hunger / Action Contre la Faim (ACF) is concerned the crisis will deteriorate further in N’Djamena and in the sprawling camps for refugees and internally displaced peoples in the east.

Meanwhile, populations fleeing into neighboring Cameroon are also in need, and ACF has sent an emergency team to assess the extent of the humanitarian crisis in northern Cameroon.

Approximately 30,000 people have sought refuge in Cameroon in and around the border town of Kousseri following the fighting that erupted in the Chadian capital over the weekend. While an eerie calm seems to have returned to N’Djamena, access to food and water could rapidly deteriorate. An ACF team is on the ground to assess the most urgent needs of the refugees.

N’Djamena and the Rest of Chad: Cut-off and Isolated

The situation in the capital of N’Djamena also gives rise to many concerns. Many food warehouses and markets—including the central market—have been plundered or burnt down. Prices of food staples have dramatically increased, and the city is nearly completely cut off from the provision of external supplies, with substantial decreases in trade. Trade elsewhere in the country is also severely limited as most goods and foodstuffs typically pass through the capital.

Humanitarian Assistance Hampered in Eastern Chad: Aid Not Reaching the Camps

The provision of assistance to Eastern Chad has been disrupted—the erstwhile “humanitarian corridor” established by the UN and its partners some years ago now no longer functions. Until only recently, most aid supplies were transported via Abeche as they wound their way to the camps where some 400,000 people receive shelter—some 220,000 refugees from Darfur and another 180,000 internally displaced people. Alarmingly, the most basic of supplies like fuel and food are no longer reaching Abeche. And while these communities can cope in the short term, the flow of international assistance has been seriously hampered, threatening new crises in the weeks to come if the flow is not restored to these dependent camps.

Due to the mounting insecurity, ACF evacuated some non-essential staff from N’Djamena and from Eastern Chad. Six international staff and their Chadian colleagues continue ACF’s programs in Abeche and Dogdore.

Action Against Hunger has provided water and sanitation services, food security programs, and psychological support in the Dogdore camp for displaced peoples (Dar Silla) where 30,000 people have sought shelter.