The United Nations is predicting a widespread famine across Sub-Saharan Africa if there’s no increase in humanitarian aid. Officials say drought, together with recent global food price hikes, are to blame.
In Chad, UNICEF estimates that 127,000 children under the age of five are expected to suffer from severe malnutrition this year.
Dr Joliane Ghedabi treats many babies at a district hospital in the city of Mao:
“Where they live, there is no health centre, so their parents first use traditional healing. When they arrive here, they are already in a very critical state and it is difficult to take care of them.”
Officials think as many as one million children across five African countries will require life saving treatment for acute malnutrition.
Wider regional upheaval has also exacerbated the situation, say commentators. Thousands of people from northern Chad worked in neighbouring Libya until last year’s civil war across the border. With their savings gone, starving families have one more mouth to feed.
The Chad government has been subsidising three-quarters of the price of grain since January. But many people can’t even afford the new lower price.
Aid agencies have put out a call for 250 million euros in additional donations.