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Faced with the persisting critical situation in eastern Chad, the Humanitarian Coordinator calls for a reinforced commitment of all actors towards people in need

The Humanitarian Coordinator in Chad, Mr. Stephen Tull, accompanied by the Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr. Florent Méhaule, visited Abeche, Ouaddai region, on 4 and 5 July 2016 to better understand the main humanitarian issues in the east of the country.

During his visit, Mr. Tull met with local authorities and humanitarian and development partners on the ground, and witnessed the efforts made to meet the basic needs of vulnerable populations. The field visit to Abougoudam village, 25 km away from Abeche, was the opportunity to exchange with local partners and beneficiaries of projects in reproductive health, nutrition, and food security.

"This field visit is an opportunity to comprehend the magnitude and multiplicity of unmet humanitarian and development needs in eastern Chad. Less than 30% of the population in Ouaddai has access to safe drinking water, nearly a quarter is food insecure, and malnutrition rates are well above emergency thresholds”, the Humanitarian Coordinator said. Indeed, the severe acute malnutrition rate reaches 4.1% in Ouaddai, which is the third highest rate in the country, above the emergency threshold of 2%. Besides access to water, access to other basic social services such as education and health is another critical issue. The Ouaddai region has only one qualified doctor per 78,000 inhabitants, and one trained teacher per 159 pupils. Nine percent of schools were closed this year due to the strike of community teachers, who have not been paid for over a year. The presence of 300,000 Sudanese refugees for over a decade increases the pressure on these basic social facilities, as well as on natural resources, and poses additional problems in terms of self-sufficiency and social integration.

Added to this is the issue of access to populations in need, especially during the rainy season - June to September - because the rising waters from the wadis isolate large areas for several weeks. To maintain assistance to vulnerable people during this period, which coincides with the lean season, the humanitarian community pre-positions stocks in potentially inaccessible areas.

"Faced with these multiple challenges, investing in development alongside humanitarian operations is an imperative. Only a renewed commitment of all actors - the humanitarian community, development actors, authorities and donors - will solve the prolonged crisis, through sustainable solutions that meet both populations’ vital needs and the root causes of persistent challenges”, Mr. Tull added. Due to lack of funding and attention to the eastern region, humanitarian partners withdraw untimely and investment in development is not sufficient. All these constraints limit the prospects of implementing sustainable solutions to improve the resilience and livelihoods of vulnerable populations in eastern Chad.

 

Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).