Chad has suffered political instability since independence in 1960, but remains one of the richest countries in Africa with natural resources. It has been described recently as “an island of stability” in a relatively tumultuous region and is regarded as a regional military heavyweight.
Located in the Central African region, Chad is divided into multiple regions, a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanese savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second-largest in Africa.
Not so very long ago, Lake Chad was among the largest lakes in the world – spanning four countries and providing a livelihood to millions of Africans. In recent years though, it has been steadily shrinking. However a rescue plan has been hatched to save the lake and the lives of those who depend on it.
Millions depend on Lake Chad’s ecosystem for survival but in the last four decades it’s shrunk by over 90%. Chad’s government along with regional partners are battling to save the lake through a proposed five-year investment plan which would see water transferred between sub-basins.
With the on-going sectarian violence in the Central African Republic and the clashes in South Sudan, the country is now faced with a large influx of refugees fleeing these conflicts. According to a report released by the UN, it is estimated that over 400,000 refugees live in the eastern part of the country.
Providing food, health care and shelter in these transit centers is putting a strain on the government’s resources.
Chad’s Zafaye Transit Center just outside the capital N’Djamena, which was set up just over a month ago and is nearly full of Chadian returnees and refugees from the Central African Republic. Clementine sent us these photos from the Transit Center.
It’s been 50 years since the creation of Zakouma National Park, surrounded by ongoing conflicts and violence in the neighbouring countries. To the east is Darfur, to the south, Central African Republic, and to the west is Nigeria. Poachers have hunted down most of the animals, decimating the elephant population. However, a team of crack rangers is managing to bring Chad’s wildlife back from the brink.
Zakouma National Park has become the conservation success story of Central Africa. The non-profit African Parks organization has over the last few years, brought its wildlife back from the brink following a devastating surge in poaching. Zakouma’s ecosystem is thought to have no equal in Central & West Africa. Clementine sent us these photos.
Clementine Logan talks about her experience in Chad here. Originally she’d planned to film a number of feature stories, but things worked out somewhat differently. Journey with her, talking to refugees in camps and flying above the serene Zakouma National Park. She’s also got a couple of tips for any fellow journalists planning to report from the country.