Chad: families hit by triple crisis as rains fail, insects destroy crops and workers return from Libya

Published: 27 February 2012

27 February 2012, Addis Ababa, Geneva.- Up to 3.6 million people are facing food shortages in Chad not only because of the drought across the Sahel but the return of tens of thousands of workers from Libya. The situation has put families’ lives in jeopardy leaving many with just three months supply of food and no income to buy more.

The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal for CHF 2.3 million Swiss francs to provide immediate assistance to some of the 127,000 malnourished Chadians and put in place measures to prevent others from slipping into a state of severe emergency.

“During each crisis in Chad, food aid is essential to save lives,” said Belly Diallo, IFRC representative in Chad. “But it is vitally important today to recognise that these response strategies can only treat the emergency situation. These interventions only shift the problem.  The international community, Governments and humanitarian organisations should combine their efforts to support community resilience, sustainable development programmes and risk reduction strategies for food security and nutritional challenges before, during and after the crisis.”

While drought is a common occurrence in many parts of northern Chad, many families have previously coped by storing their harvests and relying on remittances from family members working in Libya. The combination of crops being destroyed by insects and the Libyan revolution forcing workers back home has removed both safety nets. According to the IOM almost 86,000 Chadians have recently returned from Libya, feeling insecure about their safety there.

“Despite the efforts of the Government and partners, the situation is worrying in many regions of Chad,” said Abacar Youssouf Zaid, Vice President of the Red Cross of Chad. “Like all countries in the Sahel, the vulnerable – children, mothers, pregnant women and even cattle – are being hit hard by the food crisis. The Red Cross of Chad, with support from its partners is present in all areas where malnutrition is severe. We are counting on international solidarity to deal with this crisis.”

The IFRC appeal will support the Red Cross of Chad in assisting 123,000 people. Funds raised will be used to provide immediate relief food for vulnerable households, and run health centres for malnourished children. Longer term activities include the distribution of goats to provide milk for families and income following breeding. Small businesses will also be supported to encourage a diversification of livelihoods.

For more information or interviews contact:
In Dakar:
• Moustapha Diallo, Communications Officer, West Africa, IFRC
Mobile: +221 774 501 004
In Addis Ababa:
• Faye Callaghan, Communications Manager, Africa, IFRC
Mobile: +251 930 033 413
In Geneva:
• Jessica Sallabank, Senior Media Officer, IFRC
Mobile: +41 799 481 148 – E-mail: