Results of the Harmonized Framework analyses
The Government of Chad and its partners, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), published the results of the Harmonized Framework analyses on the food security and nutrition situation in the country in December 2020.
According to these results, more than 5,600 people were identified in “emergency phase” (phase 4 out of 5) during the October-December 2020 period; this figure is expected to increase tenfold up to 55,000 people during the next lean season, from June to August 2021. These people require humanitarian assistance, including free food aid and animal food supplements as well as activities strengthening nutrition, health, livelihoods and resilience.
No department was declared in “crisis phase” (phase 3 out of 5), even though nearly 600,000 people were identified as being in this phase during the October-December 2020 period. As for phase 2, "under pressure", 28 departments and 2.1 million people are concerned. The situation is expected to worsen during the lean season (June-August 2021), with 14 departments and more than 1.1 million people in the “crisis” or “emergency” phase (phases 3 and 4), requiring a humanitarian intervention, recovery support and strengthening of nutrition, health and livelihoods activities. Ten other departments (bringing the total to 38) are projected to be "under pressure" between June and August 2021, affecting more than 2.8 million people.
The most affected provinces are, among others, Wadi-Fira, Logone Oriental, Lac, Logone Occidental and Kanem. The provinces of the two Logones are seriously affected, with more than 112,000 people concerned (October-December 2020) and 175,000 people during the lean season. However, considering the proportion of food insecure people by province, a significant part of the Sahelian strip as well as the north-west of Chad are the most affected areas.
Climate change and the exceptional floods of 2020 also had an impact on food insecurity: hundreds of thousands of hectares of cultivated land were destroyed, thousands of cattle were washed away, and the stocks of storekeepers in flooded markets were seriously affected. Almost 400,000 people have been affected in one way or another by the recent floods.
Overall, the good news is that these predictions are better than forecast in June 2020 during the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) review. At that time, the impact of COVID-19 was projected to be more extensive. In March 2020, in the context of COVID-19, Chad had taken essential restrictive measures that disrupted the proper functioning of markets and limited income-generating opportunities for many households. These measures included the closing of borders, movement restrictions, and the closing of shops except for those selling agri-food products.
Decreasing food availability over time
The projected cereal production for the 2020-2021 harvest season is almost identical to that of last year. It is estimated at 2,901,683 tons, a slight decrease of 0.8 per cent compared to 2019-2020 (2,925,293 tons). However, a retrospective analysis based on the results of the annual Harmonized Frameworks shows that cereal production has steadily declined over the past three years. This has an impact on the number of food insecure people in the country, as shown in the table below.
It is noteworthy, however, that the cereal production for the 2020-2021 harvest season is partial since it only takes into account harvests from rainfed crops. It is necessary to wait until February or March 2021 to have the complete data on the cereal production for the current season.
In addition, the Harmonized Framework analysis has revealed that markets are well supplied with cereals and other agricultural products from the rainfed harvests of the 2020-2021 season. This availability is reinforced by the stocks of traders and imports from Cameroon and Sudan. However, cereal prices are generally higher compared to the average of the last five years in the Sahelian zone and stable in the Sudanese zone. The increase is due to the rise in the cost of transport due to the measures taken by the Government against COVID-19 and to the heavy floods which disrupted movement and supply routes.
The nutritional situation remains worrying
In most departments in Chad, the nutritional situation is worrying according to the analyses based on the results of the National Food Security and Nutrition Survey (ENSAN) of October 2020. According to these results, 12 departments from seven provinces (Chari-Baguirmi, Guéra, Hadjer-Lamis, Kanem, Lac, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental and Mandoul) experience a prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) between 5 and 10 per cent. If food insecure people do not receive adequate food assistance, they could quickly become malnourished. If we consider the average of the results of the SMART Survey from the last five years (2015-2019), the situation presents GAM rates above the WHO emergency threshold (15 per cent) in eight provinces (Barh-El-Ghazal, Batha, Borkou, Ennedi-Est, Ennedi Ouest, Kanem, Sila and Salamat). These rates are above the alert threshold of 10 per cent in seven provinces (Ouaddaï, Guéra, Hadjer-Lamis, Lac, Sila, Chari-Baguirmi and Wadi-Fira).
Actions needed to improve the situation
Overall, the Harmonized Framework analysts recommend providing aid to populations in phases 3 to 5, i.e. more than 600,000 people between October and December 2020, and more than a million during the 2021 lean season, through cash transfer programs, moderately priced grain sales and free food aid. It is also recommended to ensure the prevention and management of malnutrition. Other recommendations include taking resilience actions in favor of 2,113,378 people in the "under pressure" phase and 12,476,881 in the "minimal" phase to protect their livelihoods. It is also necessary to ensure close monitoring of the food, nutritional and pastoral situation in the areas at risk. However, the funding received to date against the appeal launched in 2020 is not sufficient to allow humanitarian actors to help the Government meet all of these needs. As of 6 January 2021, food security has been funded at 47 per cent and the nutrition sector has received about 34 per cent of the required funding. If more funding is not received, the food and nutrition situation of insecure people is likely to worsen before the next lean season.
The Harmonized Framework will allow the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan to be as comprehensive as that of 2020 since the figures from these analyses will be reflected in the calculation of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Chad. The results of the SMART Survey will also be incorporated into these forecasts.