by Pierre Péron, Public Information Officer for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
People in the Sahel are tough, but 2012 is proving to be an exceptionally bad year and the resilience of communities is being sorely tested. More than 18 million people in the Sahel are affected by a major food security and nutrition crisis this year, 3.6 million of them in Chad. Even though the humanitarian community rang the alarm bell early and thousands of tons of food aid have been distributed by the World Food Program, malnutrition rates have soared: UNICEF and partners in Chad have treated more than 100,000 children for severe acute malnutrition since the beginning of the year.
So right now, when Chad is at its hungriest and wettest, water can be both a blessing and a curse. The level of the Chari and Logone rivers that run through the capital N’Djamena is rising every day and several neighborhoods are already flooded. A man who waded home from church knee-deep in water told a local journalist: “We prayed many times to God for him to give us rain. Now he has given it to us and although we are now under water, we must accept it rather than regret it. God answered our prayers.”