Two wells have been constructed with the help of Caritas Switzerland in this village in Chad providing water to grow food as drought ravages West Africa’s Sahel region. Photo by Fred Lauener/Caritas Switzerland.
The village of Chawir is located in Canton Migami, south-central Chad (West Africa). Like almost everywhere in the area, the locals are almost exclusively women and children. Of the 2,760 inhabitants of Chawir, only 120 are adult men.
Many women are widowed or divorced. This is because their husbands did not return from the civil war in Libya, where they had migrated to find work.
Other men are expected home in early summer to join the harvest work on the cereal fields. They had left Chawir temporarily to find work in bigger towns in Chad. Some travelled to find work in Libya, which can be a dangerous place for Chadian men. Nonetheless, thousands of poor Chadian farmers take this risk; simply because they cannot afford to feed their families.
In Chawir, there is a health clinic with no doctor, but there is a school and two large communal gardens. Around 200 women, mostly with children and grandchildren, work here every day planting and harvesting herbs, leafy vegetables, carrots and onions.
Thanks to a water source only six metres underground, the garden is growing well. Two wells have been constructed with the help of Caritas Switzerland, partner organisation Acord, and a few men who remained in the village. Continue reading
Filed under Africa, Agriculture, Chad, Conflicts and Disasters, Disaster Preparedness, Emergencies, Emergencies in the Sahel, Europe, Food, Malnutrition, Switzerland
A refugee from Mali now in Niger. Most of the refugees are living in the open air, in makeshift shelters made of blankets stretched over sticks. Photo by Jean-Philippe Debus/CRS
Fears are growing over the humanitarian situation in northern Mali. Some 268,000 people have now fled northern areas seized last month by Tuareg rebels and Islamists.
“The humanitarian situation in northern Mali is worsening day by day,” said Fr. Edmond Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali. “Food and medicine are increasingly rare, because grocery stores, hospitals and health centres were ransacked by the rebels.”
Rebels have declared an independent state across a huge swathe land, roughly the same size as France.
“We try to establish humanitarian corridors, but in the absence of an agreement with the rebel movements, for the moment nothing has been done,” said Fr. Dembele. “The population in the north of Mali continue to flee to neighbouring countries or in the south of the country.” Continue reading