Evolution of the humanitarian situation in the Lac province
Response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the province
The epidemiological situation has been stable since May, with five confirmed cases including one death and no new cases since May 2020. The Daboua containment site at the northwest entrance of the province has hosted a total of 592 people, most of whom are already out of quarantine. Currently, only 12 people remain in confinement at the site.
At the operational level, the response to the needs generated by the pandemic as well as activities to sensitize communities on barrier gestures are ongoing in the province. The humanitarian community continues to support provincial authorities in the fight against COVID-19. The NGO Concern Worldwide has just received a grant of approximately € 450,000 (295,000,000 FCFA) from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). This project aims to prevent and limit the transmission of COVID-19 and targets 105,500 people in the sub-prefectures of Ngouboua and Baga-Sola. The project covers the period from 1 July 2020 to the end of February 2021 and provides for the IDP sites in Malmaïri, Fourkoulom and Kousseri. Interventions will focus on the health and WASH sectors.
As part of the support to vulnerable people in times of COVID-19, the World Food Programme (WFP) has planned the distribution of emergency food to 16,166 people in the capitals of the four departments of the Lac Province (Baga Sola, Mamdi, Ngouri and Liwa). Targeting will be carried out in the coming days with the support of the provincial delegation of social action.
However, challenges persist with regard to epidemiological surveillance linked to COVID-19. No partner has been found to date to support the authorities at the entry point of Kinasserom, bordering Cameroon.
The relaxation of certain COVID-19 preventive measures, decided by the Health Crisis Management Committee, has been much appreciated at the start of the lean season. The opening of certain businesses as well as the resumption of interurban transport will facilitate the supply of the province with food and basic necessities.
Evolution of the humanitarian situation in the Lac province
After the alert about the presence of some 5,000 displaced households in Fourkoulom, an inter-agency mission visited the site on 25 June to assess the level of vulnerability of these people and to determine the level of emergency assistance to provide. Estimated at 12,320 individuals or 2,464 households, these new internally displaced people come from island areas around Ngouboua (Ngachia, Wadaram South, Kororo, Kola Kim, among others). They explained their displacement due to the attacks carried out by non-state armed groups (NSAG) in the localities of Barkaram, Bougoumarom and Kadoulou as well as the preventive security measures demanding the local population to leave the islands to make way for military operations against the NSAG. Priority needs include food, essential household items, shelter, water, hygiene and sanitation. Other priority needs relate to access to basic social services, insufficient assistance and the vulnerability of separated and unaccompanied children affected by forced displacement.
Response to the needs of displaced people
After the IDP relocation from Diamerom to Amma, it was found that many people had stayed in Diamerom. At the request of the Lac inter-cluster, an inter-agency assessment mission took place on 2 June 2020 to ascertain the presence of these people, get an idea of their number and understand the reasons for their rejection of the relocation initiated by the provincial authorities and supported by the humanitarian community. The reasons given concerned economic opportunities linked to the presence of a large market in Diamerom and the availability of agricultural land as well as grazing and fishing space around the site. The mission recommended the repair of broken boreholes to increase water production and the distribution of emergency food before the rainy season in order to prevent a worrying humanitarian situation. It was necessary to register the displaced people on the site in order to have a list allowing better planning of interventions.
In response to this need, the CCCM/NFI-Shelter sub-cluster carried out identification operations which registered a total of 11,135 people on the site, or 2,227 households. This operation ended on 6 July. These households comprise both old and new IDPs who refused to move to Amma's relocation site. The data collected is being processed and will help identify households that will benefit from emergency food distributions from WFP and its implementing partners.
In Amma, WASH actors continue their efforts to provide drinking water to the displaced despite the difficulties related to the high conductivity of the water on the site. Eight boreholes are being drilled by the NGO HELP while Action Against Hunger (ACF) has drilled two. HELP also built 50 latrines while World Concern built 25 and OXFAM built five, bringing to 80 the number of latrines already completed. OXFAM trained 50 local builders for the construction of 130 latrines. IOM has distributed 500 WASH kits to 500 households in Amma, the distribution of 170 hand washing stations is underway. The response is also continuing in the five sites of Ngorerom, Ngourtou Koumboua, Fourkoulom, Malmairi and Kousseri. However, the gaps/shortcomings remain significant. Asylum seekers from the Nigerian town of Kaiga-Ngouboua arrived in Ngouboua in mid-June 2020 after fleeing their village, part of which was destroyed by fire. A joint CNARR / UNHCR assessment operation took place from 23 June to 2 July 2020 in Ngouboua. The asylum seekers, 626 people (244 households) in total, have been pre-registered and transferred to the Dar es Salaam refugee camp.
Activation of the population movement working group and the RRM tool in the Lac province
Harmonization of data on internally displaced people is a challenge in the Lac province. Inconsistencies in the figures of displaced populations which differ from one partner to another, the multiplicity of names for the same site or village depending on the partners, and the differentiation of the coordinates of the sites, among others, will be resolved through the activation of a working group (WG) on population movements. The activation of this WG will help ensure monitoring and reporting on population movements. Data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), could be triangulated with that of all other partners, which are important sources of information. This WG will meet after the DTM rounds, in order to clean up the data that will be presented to the inter-cluster before sharing with the humanitarian community. The Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) is an important tool to support humanitarian coordination. It is funded by ECHO with flexible rapid response structures in the event of a shock causing population movements. Key intervention sectors such as WASH (lead ACF), protection (lead INTERSOS) as well as emergency thresholds have been covered. Main actors Include UNICEF (technical leadership), the ACF/INTERSOS consortium (implementing partners), WFP (aspects related to food security) and OCHA (humanitarian coordination of this mechanism). OCHA ensures consistency with other actors and existing mechanisms.
Security situation still precarious
The security situation remains precarious across the province. Cases of incursion with extortion of property, kidnappings and killings are still reported. In May, two cases of armed robbery of humanitarian vehicles on the Ngouri-Bol axis were recorded. Although no casualties were reported, this situation has restricted movements from N’Djamena to Bol and Baga Sola, two major hubs for humanitarian operations in the Lac. The most affected areas include the sub-prefectures of Kaiga Kindjiria and Ngouboua, specifically the Ngouboua-Tchoukoutalia, Tchoukoutalia-Kaiga and Kindjiria-Boma axes. Humanitarian organizations face constraints in accessing areas and providing assistance to thousands of people in need. The island areas mentioned as well as the southern part of Bol are also concerned.
On 24 June, the President of the Republic of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno visited the Lac to support the Security and Defense Forces (FDS) and oversee the progress of the Chadian army against the NSAG. Since the end of June, there has been an increase in the presence of FDS elements in the province, mainly in their outposts in Baga Sola, Ngouboua, Kaiga Kindjiria and Diamerom. Military operations are intensified and underway. The influx of FDS could increase protection risks in the province. According to protection monitoring, the FDS is the second-largest perpetrator of protection incidents such as rape and gender-based violence, after non-state armed groups.