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Factors behind the food crisis

A woman watches her daughter, who has just started to breastfeed. UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding center in Nokou in Chad's western Kanem region

The recently finalized multi-agency and governmental vulnerability assessment map (VAM) of Chad, covering more than 4,000 households in 212 villages from April to June 2009, analyzed factors contributing to the current food crisis triggered by a 2009 drought.

The Tibesti, Borkou and Ennedi regions in the north, where 2 percent of the population live according to the 2009 census, were not surveyed.

Who heads the households, whether they can read, are married, or their children are in school, a person's profession and where they live all influence how much and what food someone accesses, finances and consumes. Here are some highlights from the report.

• 1.6 million: People were "food insecure" and faced physical or financial barriers to getting food.

• 50 percent: Children from 7 to 14 years of age enrolled in school in the regions of Kanem, Bahr-El-Gazal, Batha, Ouaddaï, Sila, Chari-Baguirmi, Hadjer Lamis and Salamat. These regions were also the most food insecure.

• 16.6 percent: Children younger than five with acute malnutrition nationwide, with 4.4 percent severely malnourished. (Acute malnutrition is measured by the size of the upper arm and a child's weight. The World Health Organization classifies acute malnutrition levels above 15 percent as "critical" emergencies.)

• 39.1 percent: Chronically malnourished children, determined by height.

• 7.7 percent: Households nationwide that had taken a loan, of which 41 percent had borrowed money to buy food.

• 54 percent: Illiterate heads of households.

• 12 percent: Households headed by women – 56 percent widowed.

• US$56: Monthly food expense in poor households - 70 percent of income.

• $202: Monthly food expense in richer families - 58.7 percent of income.

• 2 percent: Portion of monthly income spent on, respectively, healthcare, ceremonies, non-alcoholic drinks.

• 56 percent: Households having a single source of revenue.

• 43 percent: Households in the western, arid Kanem region, from which at least one person had migrated, most often for work (58 percent) versus the national migration average of 18 percent.

• 24 percent: Households in the southernmost region of Logone Oriental, from which a woman had migrated. This region also reported one of the lowest rates of exclusive breastfeeding, with 92.2 percent of newborns receiving something other than breast milk as their first food.

• 1 day: Number of times a week families eat vegetables, milk and fruit, respectively.

• 78 percent: Families who buy their food at the market even though 83.6 percent reported growing food and 45.7 percent said they raised animals.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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