In August 2011, when it stopped raining during the days of cultivation of the land, not all grain was sown. The amount of grain that grew during the following weeks was a lot less than during a normal year. Cornfields have also been plagued by the locusts just before harvest time.
It is only natural that the women work together in the field in Hadj al-Dérib. All 120 women of the village are members of a committee, which takes care of the cultivation of various crops as well as the granary and the mill. Each committee has a president, a vice-president and a secretary.
Balama was a village once located on the shores of Lake Chad, in the east of the county. Since the 1960s, the lake has been greatly reduced. A changing climate and uncontrolled use of water for irrigated agricultures combined with population pressure, has led to the receding of the lake to 10 percent of its original surface.
This year Gaba is fully engaged with the emergency assistance project of Caritas Switzerland and UNAD (Caritas Chad) that helps people from several regions of Chad who are severely affected by the drought. Help is mainly provided in form of food and new seeds.
More than 18 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region don’t have enough food.
A bad harvest last year and high food prices have caused a widespread food crisis across Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Senegal, parts of Nigeria and Gambia.
The village of Chawir is located in Canton Migami, south-central Chad (West Africa). Like almost everywhere in the area, the locals are almost exclusively women and children. Of the 2,760 inhabitants of Chawir, only 120 are adult men.
The price of fifteen kilograms of millet has doubled in just a few months. "That much millet would feed my family for two days. Imagine what I have to pay each week to provide three meals for my children and grandchildren,” said Merega.
The crisis is threatening the Sahel region of Africa—the band of land below the Sahara desert, extending from Senegal to Chad. In a normal year, the Sahel receives on average as little as 78 to 236 inches of rain. Last year’s rains were poor and the harvests bad or non-existent.
More than 12 million people in West Africa are threatened with food shortages. Caritas says action is needed now. A poor harvest in 2011 and high food prices risks pushing the people in the Sahel belt stretching across Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Senegal over the edge.