By John Ikani
Chad is hosting over one million refugees, making it one of Africa’s largest and fastest-growing refugee populations.
The ongoing conflict in neighbouring Sudan has driven hundreds of thousands of people across the border, exacerbating humanitarian needs while resources to address them dwindle.
The number of Sudanese refugees in Chad has doubled in the past six months, equaling the total number of arrivals over the past two decades since the Darfur crisis began in 2003.
The influx of refugees, particularly from the recent surge near Darfur’s border, is intensifying tensions between host communities and newcomers in a country already struggling with multiple crises.
Chad grapples with severe food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly affecting its children. This dire situation is exacerbated by climate adversities, economic strains, dwindling agriculture, and inter-communal conflicts.
The refugee crisis places an additional burden on already food-insecure communities, with a staggering 2.1 million people confronting acute food shortages in 2023.
The nation is experiencing its most challenging lean season in ten years, notably in the east since the Sudan crisis.
Alarming figures reveal malnutrition impacting 1.36 million children, with 8.6% under the age of 5 suffering and 1.5% severely malnourished, a matter of particular concern within refugee sites.
An Emergency Food Security Assessment conducted in Eastern Chad unveils concerning statistics, with 90% of new refugees, 77% of pre-existing refugees, and 67% of local communities grappling with poor or borderline food consumption.
In response to this crisis, the World Food Programme (WFP) steps forward with a mission to assist 2.85 million people, encompassing refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and vulnerable locals.
Their initiatives include emergency interventions, school feeding programs, and preventive and curative measures against malnutrition.
This comprehensive approach extends to providing both food and cash-based assistance for sudden onset emergencies like floods.