Analysis of the context, crisis and needs
In 2020, Chad was affected by growing insecurity within its borders and within neighboring countries, economic fragility intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, a precarious health context, and the impact of destructive climate-related events. The pandemic’s socioeconomic impact exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities, including of people – many of whom are women – working in the informal sector. The context was marked by the closure of borders, a collapse of the oil price, a rise in food prices and initial paralysis of the economic fabric, including high levels of unemployment for several months.
The security situation continued to be of concern in Lac province, including clashes between non-State armed groups and the Chadian Army and the declaration of a ‘no-go zone’ for civilians. As a result, the number of IDPs in that province increased to 336,000 – a 98 per cent rise compared to 2019. In southern and eastern Chad, some 480,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan still depend on humanitarian assistance. Nearly 20,000 new refugees arrived in eastern Chad in 2020 due to the persistence of intercommunal clashes in Darfur. Intercommunal conflict between farmers and herders has also continued, particularly in the south.
Heavier floods compared to those in 2019 resulted in significant livelihood losses for farmers and herders, especially in the center, east and south, affecting some 388,000 people. For the first time since 2012, the capital was also severely affected by excessive rainfall. Rivers then burst their banks. Some 35,000 people required assistance.
The socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 affected the food and nutrition situation of the most vulnerable people. In 2020, the number of severely food insecure people remained 1 million. According to the preliminary results of the November food security assessment (Cadre Harmonisé), 2 million people now need livelihood support. The prevalence of acute malnutrition continues to rise, with 18 out of 23 provinces in an alarming nutritional situation. At the national level, GAM prevalence is 12.9 per cent, of which 2.9 per cent is in its severe form (SAM). Almost 2 million people are affected by health emergencies, the most vulnerable of whom are children under 5 years of age, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with disabilities and the elderly. This situation is largely explained by the poor access to basic social services worsened by the pandemic, but also by the increase in endemic and epidemic diseases, notably malaria, measles and a new outbreak of chikungunya.
Projected situation in 2021 and beyond
Chad will remain affected by the political and security dynamics in neighboring countries. The active presence of non-State armed groups in northern CAR will, for the time being, slow down the potential return of CAR refugees from southern Chad. However, political developments in Sudan might lead to the gradual return of the Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad. In contrast, the presence of non-State armed groups in Lac province and military counteroperations are likely to cause further displacements. Instability in Libya has led to new waves of migrants returning to northern Chad.
The consequences of climate change, especially droughts and floods, will affect agrosylvopastoral production, with negative impacts on food security and malnutrition rates. Access to basic social services, particularly health services, will remain challenging, especially with the persistence of epidemics such as cholera and measles, the lack of adequate health care, and the high prevalence of certain diseases, especially malaria. The persistence of COVID-19 could further worsen the living conditions of the most vulnerable people.
Response priorities in 2021
In 2021, the humanitarian response will remain guided by the established multi-year 2017-2021 strategic framework and its goals: to save and preserve life and dignity through multisectoral and integrated emergency assistance; to reduce vulnerability by building resilience; and to contribute to the protection of the most vulnerable populations and strengthen accountability to affected people.
Within this, 2021 response priorities and approaches will promote an integrated approach, with an increased number of defined multisectoral strategies, including for refugees, and it will reinforce complementarity between humanitarian and development action to achieve collective results. In this context, strengthening and empowering Government leadership is a priority, as is promoting durable solutions for displaced people (refugees, returnees and IDPs).
Planning will be based on, inter alia, the specific vulnerabilities of women, girls, boys, children and people with disabilities. It will mainstream protection concerns and respond to the humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The centrality of protection and accountability to affected populations will be reinforced through community-based approaches to prevent protection risks, respond to the most urgent protection needs, including for GBV survivors, and assure fundamental human rights. Emergency preparedness, response and risk reduction measures remain of vital importance to mitigate the humanitarian consequences of climate change. The use of cash-transfer modalities, based on a survey of market availability and accessibility, will be further reinforced.
The humanitarian community is currently completing its analysis of people in need of assistance in 2021, and of the most vulnerable to be targeted for response. Final figures are pending formal completion of the Cadre Harmonisé process, which will reflect the projected impact on food insecure people from unfavorable climate effects, including droughts and floods and the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic. Figures will also include the increased number of people displaced due to insecurity in Lac province.