SEATTLE — A major influence on the status of hunger in the Central African Republic of Chad today is the pressure felt by refugees from neighboring countries of Sudan and the Central African Republic, as well as those fleeing the Lake Chad Basin crisis, and the strain they put on an already fragile system. The lingering influence of hunger in the country manifests in the recent food crises that made the system more fragile in the first place.
In the past decade the country has dealt with the Sahel Food Crisis, where over 13 million people in the Sahel region of West Africa risked hunger, food insecurity and malnourishment due to drought, high food prices and conflict.
Of the 13 million affected, an estimated 1.6 were in Chad. In 2014 and 2015, a new Sahel Food Crisis developed due to similar factors such as conflict, refugees straining systems and low rainfall in the region preventing agricultural development. Calls for aid from the United Nations and efforts made by other organizations reduced the urgency of the situation, but the threat of the crisis still lingers.
However, this major conflict is where the majority of risk and threat of hunger in Chad are this year.
The refugees fleeing conflict drain resources, like limited access to clean water, food resources and sanitation. The CARE organization reports that only 44 percent of households have access to clean water and only 12 percent of households have proper sanitation structures. A large portion of the republic’s population, citizen and refugee alike, have been and continue to be incredibly dependent on humanitarian aid as a result of an inability to create thriving food-related industries in harsh environmental and political conditions.
The ongoing Lake Chad Basin crisis has increased the number of refugees coming into Chad, as well as the severity of many of these issues.
Overall, the historical factors and current influences make the rate of hunger in the Central African Republic of Chad one of the highest in the world, with 6.9 million intensely food insecure.
Two major organizations have sought to address these issues and create sustainable solutions — The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (and the United Nations as a whole) and the World Food Programme.
The U.N. FAO released a response strategy in March of this year addressing the Lake Chad Basin crisis, citing important hunger statistics in the country and outlining a strategic aid approach that seeks to create equitable access to resources and services as part of creating resilient and sustainable industries. By uplifting refugees, women and youth, the U.N. FAO can implement the “Caisse de resilience: a community-managed…with the provision of technical training to strengthen social capital, enable income-generating and social activities, and reduce vulnerability to further shocks.”
Caisse de resilience and other strategies outlined by the U.N. FAO can encourage growth and change for the hungry and impoverished of Chad.
The World Food Programme states that they run a myriad of programs in the country that address hunger in the Central African Republic of Chad, with a focus on shifting from emergency relief to building long-term resilience. The WFP is making a difference by providing cash centers to incentivize food buying in the areas closest to Lake Chad Basin, supporting refugees, providing school meals and teaming up with U.N. Humanitarian Air Force efforts.
By supporting organizations within the United Nations, or other groups like the World Food Programme, the devastation and long-lasting effects of hunger in countries like Chad are mitigated and discouraged to continue.
– Gabriella Paez