As of March 2022, it is estimated that a total of 2.1 million people living in the landlocked country of Chad, located in north-central Africa, will be in need of humanitarian aid as the country is considered severely food insecure. The country’s lack of food security is attributed to a number of factors, including decreased agricultural production, the negative impacts of climate change, tension caused by diminishing natural resources, conflict and low economic development, among others.
“These factors indicate a third consecutive year of severe food insecurity and the worst lean season of the last 10 years,” said the United Nations’ World Food Programme (UN’s WFP), via a report.
The organisation estimates that it will have to pump USD$99.5 million into humanitarian aid into the country as it enters its “lean season”. The lean season is the time between planting and harvesting when there are few job possibilities and low pay. Chad experiences the lean season from June to September every year, a time when households have little to no food reserves.
Reaching the most vulnerable
“In support of the government’s National Response Plan for the lean season, WFP plans to reach 1.06 million of the most vulnerable food insecure people in need of assistance. WFP will provide a full ration in a timely manner, to avoid people falling further into poverty and food insecurity,” the organisation said.
“WFP will provide food and nutrition assistance for four months from June to September in the nine targeted provinces of Barh el Gazel, Batha, Guera, Hadjer Lamis, Kanem, Lac, Ouaddai, Salamat and Wadi Fira.
“The full ration consists of 425 gr of cereals, 100 gr of pulses, 35 gr of oil, and 5 gr of salt per person per day, representing 2 100 kcal. WFP will also support 79,578 children, aged 6-23 months, and 53 052 pregnant and lactating mothers and girls with nutrition assistance of 200gr of corn-soy blend (CSB++) per person per month, to prevent malnutrition.”
To improve national capabilities in emergency preparedness and response, WFP collaborates closely with important ministries and departmental services including ONASA and SISAAP. This includes delivering education and technical assistance to the food security and early warning system, managing food security and nutrition information, coordinating nutrition-related activities, and putting moderate acute malnutrition treatment into place.
Stretching the resources
“An effective humanitarian response is critical to curb the endemic food and nutritional crisis in Chad. This will prevent vulnerable people from resorting to survival strategies that are harmful for their health and that will most probably undermine their fragile livelihoods. As the lean season is fast approaching and sufficient resources have not yet been mobilised, WFP may have to adopt non-recommendable prioritisation.”
WFP will need to take the following activities based on the resources at its disposal. Re-prioritising the number of lean season beneficiaries based on vulnerability:
- Priority help for just those in Phase 4 in the Sahelian belt regions
- WFP will begin aiding people in Phase 4 and, depending on the amount of cash raised, will scale-up to include further vulnerability levels based on the vulnerability study per department
- Vulnerability analysis of the departments in the nine provinces of the Sahelian region
- Reducing the portion size to 50% of the suggested monthly intake
- A three-month reduction in the length of the aid
The WFP currently only has USD$14 million in resources available for the lean season, and it needs an additional USD$85 million to meet the needs of the population that the Cadre Harmonisé has identified as suffering from severe food insecurity in Phases 3 and 4 and in need of aid.