Chad is a low-income, food-deficit country, ranked 170th out of 177 countries in the 2008 UNDP Human Development Index. Chad has in the past six years hosted around 255,000 refugees from Sudan ’s Darfur region and close to 77,000 refugees from the Central African Republic and 188,000 Chadians have been displaced by fighting in the east of the country.
Chad’s poverty has been aggravated by various conflicts during its 40 years of independence. Tensions between ethnic groups in the north and in the south of the country have further contributed to political and economic instability. In addition, Chad is subject to spill-over effects from crisis in the neighboring countries, Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Economic development in Chad is inhibited by its landlocked location and the desert climate in the north. The Sahelian zone (central and eastern Chad) is particularly affected by chronic food deficits. The arrival of thousands of Sudanese refugees in the area since late 2003 has put additional pressure on limited resources, placing further stress on the already highly vulnerable local population.
Around eighty percent of the population depends on subsistence farming and herding for their livelihoods. Cereal production is heavily affected by erratic rains, cyclical droughts and locust infestations. Poor farming practices and limited access to food make the population vulnerable to food insecurity. Malnutrition is one of the main problems faced by the local population with an alarming prevalence, especially in the Kanem region (20 percent of global acute malnutrition rate in 2008). More than 8 percent of infants do not survive their first year, while 20 percent of children die before reaching the age of five.
Poverty and food insecurity limit access to basic education, leading to a net enrolment rate of 35 percent in 2004 and adult literacy rates as low as 26 percent.
Chad has very limited capacity to cope with the presence of refugees and relies heavily on external assistance to be able to improve its own food security, particularly in the Sahelian zone.
WFP continues to provide food assistance (including general food distributions and targeted supplementary and therapeutic feeding programmes) to 255,000 Sudanese refugees who fled to Chad as a result of ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. About 77,000 Central African refugees in southern Chad who fled their homes following the conflict between CAR government forces and armed opposition are also receiving food assistance from WFP.
Food assistance is provided through general food distributions, supplementary and therapeutic feeding for children under five, as well as for pregnant and nursing women. WFP is also providing monthly feeding rations to the most vulnerable among the CAR refugees who have achieved a certain level of self-reliance and do not require regular food assistance.
In addition to refugees, 188,000 Chadians who have been displaced from their homes as a result of fighting in the East continue to receive rations from WFP through general food distribution and seed protection rations during the lean season and the planting season. About 88,000 school children are assisted throuth the emergency school feeding programme.
Another 150,000 vulnerable people in host communities receive WFP assistance through food-for-work programmes and other targeted interventions.
The WFP Humanitarian Air Service provides air transport service to humanitarian personnel and donor representatives working in support of the ongoing emergency operations and provides evacuation services and transport of non-food relief cargo to inaccessible areas. UNHAS serves over 100 UN agencies and NGOs through 12 destinations in Chad and 2 in Cameroon (Garua and Yaounde). Given the extremely poor road conditions in Chad, as well as general insecurity along the roads, the air service provides a safe and efficient transport alternative.
WFP Chad is also running a Logistics Operation for Fleet Augmentation and Logistics Cluster Coordination which has been set up to enhance interagency transport capacity of the humanitarian community and to reinforce predictability, timeliness and efficiency of the logistics response to operations in Chad.
WFP implements a development programme which promotes primary education, particularly among girls, through the provision of school meals, provides support to increased agricultural production through sustainable conservation and management of natural resources and tackles malnutrition in young children and their mothers.
Through this programme, WFP assists 247,000 Chadians in the most food-insecure parts of the country, namely Ouaddai, Batha, Guera, Kanem and Wadi Fira. High priority is given to primary education, with focus on increasing enrolment and/or reducing drop-out rates. WFP also supports community-based interventions through food-for- work activities to improve food security as part of a national safety-net strategy. Assistance is also provided through supplementary feeding to reduce malnutrition prevalence among children and to improve the health status of vulnerable groups, including pregnant and nursing women and people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.