Chad has been devastated by the heaviest downpours in three decades, resulting in unimaginable suffering. The heavy rains have stripped the people of their homes, farmlands, and crops. Those afflicted with hunger are in dire need of new seeds to ensure the upcoming harvest is secure. SWISSAID has initiated an emergency relief initiative to distribute seeds and food packages.
Food packages save the poorest people through the critical period. In addition, seeds are distributed for fast-growing vegetables that can be harvested after just three weeks.
“The needs of the population are enormous. The situation is dramatic,” reports Olivier Ngardouel Mbaïnaïkou, head of our coordination office in Chad. The time spent in these affected regions brings us face to face with a poignant reality: the situation is dramatic. More dramatic than we imagined.
We are among the only humanitarian organizations present on the spot. Time is running out: the rainy season is about to begin, the fields must be sown. In addition, food prices have increased dramatically in the last few weeks. We have to start new distributions. A package of food cost almost 60 francs instead of 40.
When the rain came - and didn't stop
The people of Chad usually rejoice when the rain arrives, but this time, it came with a wrath unlike any they’ve ever seen before. It poured down relentlessly and with great force, wreaking unimaginable havoc on their homes, farmlands, and livelihoods. According to the national meteorological authority, Chad has never seen rainfall as high as the end of 2023 since 1990. Several cities in the country were under water. The heavy rains hit various regions of the country, including the southern provinces of Guéra, Mandoul and Logone Oriental, where SWISSAID is active.
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The rains, which lasted several weeks, destroyed homes, deprived families of their livelihoods or forced them to flee. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 1.3 million people were affected, with 80,000 homes and many schools, health centers and public infrastructure destroyed.
Berthe Mendjipi, a 45-year-old resident of the Miandoum district in southern Chad, vividly remembers the tragedy: “We have never in our lives experienced anything of this magnitude. The masses of water took us by complete surprise.”
One third more malnourished
The devastating consequences of the floods are still haunting the people of Chad today. The torrential rainfall not only destroyed homes and belongings but also wreaked havoc on crops and arable land. Over 350,000 hectares of agricultural land were severely damaged, and the harvest was washed away, leaving farmers with nothing. People are now facing a shortage of seeds for the upcoming season, putting the next harvest in jeopardy. With two failed harvests in a row, the people, who are already grappling with hunger, are facing a life-threatening crisis.
Before the floods, we had enough food for our family every day. We could harvest vegetables from our fields and cook a meal every day. Then the flood came. All the water destroyed everything.
Berthe Mendjipi, peasant in Tchad.
Flood &amp; Hunger: Save lives now!
Many people in Chad are like Berthe and her family. For weeks, they have hardly had anything to eat. Uncertainty about whether there will be enough food on the table for the family the next day is growing. The number of malnourished people has risen by 37 percent – in just three months. “We lack everything: we now need food, seeds and clean water”, says Berthe Mendjipi, who is hoping for help soon.
Survival thanks to emergency aid: with seeds and food packages
The emergency aid started in April 2023 and has since ensured the survival of at least 12’900 women, men and children by providing them with food parcels and seeds. Its long experience in the country – SWISSAID has been present in Chad for 58 years – allows it to work rapidly and in close collaboration with the field and the population.
Various activities are planned:
- 1600 families in need (about 9600 people) will receive food packages containing 10 kilos of beans, 20 kilos of sorghum and 20 kilos of corn, 2 kilos of sugar and 5 litres of oil. This ration covers the needs of a family of six for about a month.
- The 1600 families will also receive 1 kilo of sesame and groundnut seeds and 5 kilos of sorghum and rice seeds. These four varieties are well known in the region and should be sown in April, at the latest in early May. The distribution is accompanied by training in agroecological techniques for better crop yield.
- 2500 pregnant and lactating women and 800 young children aged between 6 and 23 months will receive food supplements and nutritional support. The rations each consist of 500 grams of fortified flour to prevent malnutrition, nutritional deficiencies and stunting.
The emergency measures are concentrated in April. In May and June, a second and third distribution of food parcels and supplements will take place, while waiting for the next crops to bloom.
Chad - one of the poorest countries in the world
In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Chad ranks 119 out of the 125 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2023 GHI scores.