Two years of successive shocks have had a devastating impact on pastoralist communities in Chad. Erratic rainfall in 2011 led to poor harvests in many parts of the country, which raised serious humanitarian concerns. Famine threatened an estimated 1.6 million people. Acute malnutrition rates have gone beyond 15 per cent– the emergency threshold - in June 2011 in the Sahel belt. In Chad, severe acute malnutrition rates are increasing in Batha (4.6 per cent), Bahr el Ghazal (3.1 per cent), Guéra (3.9 per cent), Kanem (3 per cent), Lac (2.3 per cent), and Wadi Fira (4.6 per cent).
Chad experienced one of the worst cholera epidemics in recent history. WHO registered some 17,000 cases, including 455 deaths, since the beginning of 2011. The year was also marked by an alarming resurgence of poliomyelitis (132 WPV cases), measles and Guinea worm.
Displacement and population movements remained a major cause of concern. More than 90,000 Chadian migrants left Libya, returning to their regions of origin, mostly in and around N’Djamena and the Sahel belt. This further stretched resources in areas already vulnerable to food insecurity.
Chad still hosts 274,640 Sudanese refugees in the east of the country and 67,863 Centrafricans in the south-east. Chad also has 125,000 IDPs and 56,000 former IDPs who have returned to their areas of origin. All these communities present serious protection-and-assistance issues to the authorities and humanitarian agencies, and are among the main beneficiaries of humanitarian action. There has been continuing concern about weak or non-existent services for IDPs. The failure to secure a clear resolution of key problems in Sudan and CAR makes a mass return of refugees unlikely.
Responding to these problems, OCHA consolidated its coordination role at the national and local level. OCHA’s offices in N’Djamena, Abeche, Koukou, Farchana and Goz Beida supported the cluster system. OCHA developed guidance on minimal conditions for returning IDPs helped harmonize and update IDP figures. OCHA took part in inter-cluster meetings in Mao, Bol and Moussoro in the Sahelian belt of the country, where many of the worst humanitarian problems are concentrated. OCHA was involved in smaller-scale inter-cluster coordination arrangements to address WASH and health issues for the epidemics, and food security and nutrition for the ongoing Sahel belt crisis.
OCHA had significant input in organizing and following-up on HCT meetings, helping to ensure decisions and recommendations are implemented. This led to stronger cooperation between the wash and health clusters during the response to a cholera outbreak and improved collaboration between the food security and nutrition clusters in addressing the food and nutrition crisis.
OCHA worked closely with the HC to promote constructive dialogue with and communicate key messages to the Government, donors, implementing partners, regional organizations and the general public. High-level meetings with the authorities helped ensure critical humanitarian concerns were addressed, such as security of operations, access restrictions, long-term solutions for returning IDPs and problems of early recovery in the east. The ongoing dialogue also raised awareness of the Government’s responsibilities in crisis periods, and confronting cholera epidemics, food security and nutritional concerns.
OCHA worked with Government authorities to enable better data collection and information management at the local and national level, particularly through the ongoing capacity-building of the Comités Regionaux d’Action. The aim is to better prepare the Government for future crises and strengthen its role in ensuring more effective humanitarian coordination.
OCHA contributed to a range of regional, national and local forums and consultative processes. They included donor meetings; the Task Force on the Libya Crisis; the Floods Working Group with N’Djamena and Bongor municipalities, and humanitarian flight users’ group meetings.
OCHA provided leadership on joint assessment missions that focused on shifting humanitarian needs in different areas. A mission to Sila and Assoungha in the east looked at the issues surrounding returning IDPs, including humanitarian needs, access and the search for durable solutions. Other missions focused on the rapid assessment of sudden-onset crises, including floods and epidemics, and the impact of the Libya crisis on different districts of N’Djamena, and on east and north Chad.
OCHA helped to secure $233 million (57 per cent of requirements) in humanitarian funding through the 2011 Chad CAP, and $22 million through CERF. OCHA also briefed major donors, including ECHO, Spain, South Africa and Switzerland, on humanitarian funding requirements. Attempts continue to broaden the donor base, focusing on India-Brazil-South Africa, a South-South cooperation initiative, among others, and on the African Renaissance Fund for CAP support.
OCHA’s coordination of the humanitarian response will strive to build links with ongoing development initiatives and mechanisms, pushing for long-term solutions. This includes building national institutions’ capacity to improve planning, and helping to instill a culture of prevention and management of natural disasters.
Working closely with the HC, OCHA will strengthen its relations with donors and engage in strong advocacy, trying to ensure that severe humanitarian problems are not overlooked and Chad receives the attention it merits.
OCHA will use its expanding range of information tools, including its mapping service and the 3W matrix, to inform the humanitarian community of developments at local and national levels.