By Lisa Krebs
For five years, Gaba Goundoukou has been a member of Aura, a partner organisation of Caritas Switzerland in Chad. Gaba is an educated farmer and works in 20 villages in the region Guéra, located in the east of the country. Gaba is responsible for the implementation of various activities of Aura for rural development, in collaboration with the villagers.
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.
From the beginning of the project, Gaba took on an important role: he was responsible for determining which families could benefit from the emergency assistance project. In order to make a fair selection, Gaba visited every household in “his” villages and completed a questionnaire with the […]
West Africa’s Sahel region faced devastating hunger in 2012 after drought left a huge swathe of countries short of food.
Chad was one of the worst affected countries, with poor rainfall last year hurting farmers and animal herders the most. Then locusts and severe flooding added to the misery.
In Chad, Caritas is focusing on the food needs of vulnerable populations through food distribution as well as activities to build agricultural sustainability through the provision of seeds, veterinary inputs and technical support in agricultural production.
With the support of Caritas members around the world, Caritas Switzerland has been working with Caritas Chad and a local partner ACORD to support farmers during the agricultural year, improving yields to avoid a vicious cycle of famine.
Caritas will help over 100,000 people with seeds and activities aimed at improving the resilience of farmers’ livelihoods throughout the year.
Read these stories from by Lisa Krebs on the difference […]
The floods in Chad have caused at least 13 deaths, affected 445,725 people and inundated about 255,720 hectares of cropland, according to a 3 September update by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Some 73,412 houses have been destroyed. The floods come as Chad still grapples with lack of food caused by drought conditions over the last 12 months. Bishop Miguel A. Sebastián of Laï(Chad) sent us this letter (in French) about the flooding in his country. Je m’occupe et me préoccupe dernièrement c’est la situation qui prévaut sur une grande partie de notre région, la Tandjilé. Si l’an dernier il n’y a pas eu assez de pluie, cette année en a eu de trop. La pluie tombe avec abondance, tellement que les fleuves et rivières de notre région ont débordé, chose inouïe ; beaucoup de personnes assez âgées nous disent qu’ils n’ont jamais vu cela ! Cela est […]
“We left our village because we were starving,” said one elderly refugee from Mali. She has come to a relief camp in Mangaizé in northern Niger where Caritas Niger (CADEV) works.
“I left my village when the rebels attacked,” said another woman. “I escaped at the last moment because I could not find all of my children. I’m here with the two youngest ones, but I don’t know what’s happened to the eldest two.”
They’re both new arrivals, coming to join 3000 other refugees from Mali in Mangaizé camp. Some have been here for four months. They’re fleeing conflict in northern Mali between different rebel groups and government forces.
They are also fleeing hunger. Mali is experiencing the same food crisis as much of the Sahel in Western Africa, but the violence means aid agencies can’t get through to people in need, especially in the vast rebel held areas.
“The first refugees who […]
The film is also available in French and Spanish
By Richard Clemence, special correspondent to Secours Catholique (Caritas France)
“My field of millet was devastated by drought last season. I could only raise a few pounds, while normally I produce several hundred,” said Francois Merega, an old farmer in north-western Burkina Faso. Sitting in the courtyard of his house, the man describes his family’s precarious situation.
In front of the house stands the family’s granary. Since February, it has been hopelessly empty. “The last harvest was not enough to feed the fourteen members of my family over four months,” said Merega. “So we’ve been forced to buy food at the market.” But in these difficult times, markets are also running short of grain. Where grain is available, the prices are too high for the country’s small farmers, who make up over 80 percent of the population.
The price of fifteen kilograms of millet has doubled in just a few months. “That […]
Fears are growing over the humanitarian situation in northern Mali. Some 268,000 people have now fled northern areas seized last month by Tuareg rebels and Islamists. “The humanitarian situation in northern Mali is worsening day by day,” said Fr. Edmond Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali. “Food and medicine are increasingly rare, because grocery stores, hospitals and health centres were ransacked by the rebels.” Rebels have declared an independent state across a huge swathe land, roughly the same size as France. “We try to establish humanitarian corridors, but in the absence of an agreement with the rebel movements, for the moment nothing has been done,” said Fr. Dembele. “The population in the north of Mali continue to flee to neighbouring countries or in the south of the country.”
À l’est du Tchad, des milliers de réfugiés soudanais et de Tchadiens se battent pour survivre, aux côtés du Secadev (Secours Catholique et Développement – Caritas N’Djamena). Les résultats obtenus pour tendre le filet de sécurité alimentaire, tout en protégeant l’environnement, sont encourageants.
Les impulsions données par notre partenaire sont déterminantes pour le proche avenir de civils en péril depuis huit ans, sur fond d’impasse politique. Le projet qu’il porte depuis 2009 comporte trois axes principaux : agriculture, élevage et environnement.
Agriculture : priorité à l’accès aux terres cultivables, à l’approvisionnement en semences et en outils, aux formations techniques, à l’installation de greniers communautaires.
Élevage : priorité à la vaccination du bétail, à la formation des éleveurs aux techniques d’alimentation de celui-ci et à celle des auxiliaires.
Environnement : reboisement, création de comités spécialisés dans les villages, distribution de foyers améliorés métalliques, emploi de déchets organiques pour éviter de consommer du bois…
Les paysans […]
By Helen Blakesley “It takes a trained eye to see when someone is poorer than poor in Niger. People are living in a harsh environment, it’s a semi-desert, many households can seem badly off at the best of times. But this year, I noticed a change,” said Jean-Marie Adrian, Catholic Relief Services regional director for West Africa (CRS is a Caritas member working in Niger with partners such as Caritas Niger/CADEV). “A very simple thing struck me. Usually, during the dry season, people weave straw together to make new granaries or they repair the holes in their old ones. But as I drove past villages this time, I saw very few of these new circular constructions. Many had collapsed, with no effort to repair them … because there had been no harvest that needed storing”.
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.
With the hunger season still to come, people across the region have already switched to survival measures such as rationing food, selling off cattle and leaving their farms to urban centres to find food.
It is one of the most under-developed regions in the world even at the best of times with the lives of over 200,000 children lost each year as a result of poverty.
Caritas in action
The Caritas confederation of over 160 Catholic aid agencies is mobilising to meet their needs in this large scale humanitarian emergency.
Caritas works through its national members and the church on the ground. Appeals have been launched […]