Urgent assistance needed for 11,500 persons displaced by Chad floods: IOM

AUGUST 01: Aerial view of the Chari River, a tributary of Lake Chad in Chad. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED – AUGUST 01: Aerial view of the Chari River, a tributary of Lake Chad in Chad. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

An estimated 11,500 people have been forced to leave their homes since late October as a result of flash floods in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said.

The floods have been caused as a result of rising water levels leading to the overflow of the Chari River and an embankment break in N’Djamena’s 9th district.

IOM, in coordination with Chadian authorities and the humanitarian community, has been providing leading support to site management and site development including shelters, water supply, solar lights and non-food items.

However the organization says much more needs to be done to support the people most in need, including with food, sanitation and education in times of crisis.

“It is now urgent that we scale up efforts to quickly provide suitable shelter and emergency response support to the disaster victims as there is concern for COVID spread in tight living spaces as well as risk of water-borne diseases that are endemic in the region,” said Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission.

In the displacement site, IOM has built temporary shelters and organized sensitization sessions on fire safety and protection from related hazards.

The organization is also collecting data through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to evaluate the needs of the displaced persons. These floods add a layer of vulnerability to a population that had already been impacted by severe floods last August.

The Chari and the Logone rivers, which flow through the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Chad, are among Lake Chad’s main sources of water. But there is an irregular flow, with low flow between February and July, and exceptionally high flow between August and November, particularly when fed by rain waters during the rainy summer months.

“A comprehensive response is needed to profile the people most affected and vulnerable to flooding, and to strengthen emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction and management in flood-prone areas including support to Government authorities in planning, early warning and rapid response to floods and other catastrophes,” says IOM’s Schaefer.

The extreme rainy season of 2020, which continues in the south of the country, is leading to an increase in water levels. Upstream, risk also is rising in the Lac Province, where more than 393,000 people are currently displaced as a direct consequence of climate change and insecurity from actions of Boko Haram and other non-state armed group actions.