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 […]
Caritas Niger (CadevNiger) publie cette semaine des articles sur la crise alimentaire qui touche certaines zones du pays. Nous sommes dans le village de Sarkin Toudou Araga dans la commune rurale d’Ajékoria au Niger. C’est un village calme de 548 habitants. Ici, grâce au Projet Participatif et Décentralisé de Sécurité Alimentaire dans les Communes de Birnin Lalé et Adjekoria (PDSA/BA) la crise alimentaire soulève moins d’inquiétude. Le projet qui a démarré en avril 2008 est le fruit de la collaboration entre la Caritas Développement Niger (Cadev Niger) et la Caritas International Belgique. Son objectif est d’améliorer la situation alimentaire des populations et leurs conditions de vie.
Nick Harrop is a writer for Cafod (Caritas England and Wales). He has just return from a mission in Niger and give his first impression on the food crisis growing up in the country. During the last few days, I’ve had the chance to ask several people in Niger how this year’s food crisis compares with previous ones. They’ve all said the same thing: it’s the worst one they can remember. Mintou, a grandmother living in a village about three hours’ drive from the capital, said: “There was one year when it was very bad, which we call ‘kantchakalague’. Maybe we can compare this year that that one. But I think this year is worse.” “Does ‘kantchakalgue’ mean famine?” I asked Tchadi from our partner CADEV (Caritas Niger), who was translating. “No, not famine,” he said. “Literally, it means tiredness, thinness, a time when people are thin and animals are […]
Zaki can’t afford to feed his family this year. He’s a young teacher in Burkina Faso. It’s one of a string of West African countries where food is getting scarce. The price of corn has increased so much Zaki can’t afford to buy it. His family must rely on their reserves of rice, but supplies dwindle each day.
Dassala and his family are hanging in for the moment. He is an elderly man, too old to provide for his family. His wife’s business isn’t looking so good. So they must rely on their son, an apprentice mechanic, to provide food. But it’s not enough, especially if food prices continue to rise.
“Thousands of families no longer know where to turn,” says Flavien Batiano of OCADES-Caritas Burkina Faso. “When food prices go up, people cope by migrating, selling livestock cheaply, turning to risky things like gold mining or fighting over grazing land […]