i-ACT 21 Day 5: Waiting in the Land of Plenty

Still in NDJ, but Comfortable and Fed

By Gabriel Stauring

We’re stuck in the capital over the weekend, well beyond the time we wanted to be here. It’s bad, but we’re safe, comfortable, and fed. Breakfast is included in the hotel, so we make the most of it, our only complete meal for the day. The rest of the day, we all snack on granola bars, nuts, and other goodies we brought. Even though I’m eating substantially less than back at home, I’m never hungry.

We are constantly thinking about food, though. We are doing research about why refugees are experiencing such extreme food reductions. Here in Chad, Darfuri refugees’ food rations have been cut by approximately 60%, from 2100 calories per person per day to approximately 800. The most mentioned and simple answer to why this is happening is lack of funding. But there also seems to be a move to make the refugees more self-reliant and to integrate them into the community around them. It does not seem to be working.

We will be talking a lot more about food in the days to come. We have been working for years now on being able to provide meals through our Little Ripples program. Once out in the camps, we will be looking at the specific logistics involved in making this happen. We’ll also be talking with families about their current food situation.

We want to better understand the world humanitarian food crisis and, more specifically, the food insecurity in the camps we visit. We won’t have all the answers, but we hope to count on you in helping us advocate for a population that has gone through so much, feels abandoned, and is now living in daily hunger.

Gabriel

 

In a World of Plenty

By Sara-Christine Dallain

“It is unacceptable in today’s world of plenty for refugees to face chronic hunger or that their children drop out of school to help families survive.” – Anto?nio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

In the Darfur refugee camps in eastern Chad, food insecurity and malnutrition has been a dominate narrative for over a year now. Hunger persists, children still do not attend school in efforts to support their families, and fair and just solutions have yet to be advocated for or attempted.

The humanitarian response so far has been to push the refugees towards self-reliance. An effort to get the over 360,000 refugee population off assistance and on to being self-sustaining. They are to fend for themselves, competing for resources on this unforgiving land where the rural Chadian population has also been found to be severely food insecure.

In the days, weeks and months to come, we will write about the hunger, the malnutrition, the families struggling to eat two meals a day, and the reality of what it means to live on 800 calories per day of rations, or less. We aspire to bring long over due attention to this refugee population, our friends Achta, Ramadan, Adam, Guisma, Oumda, Haleyma, Leila, Habiba and the thousands like them, facing hunger in a world of plenty. We hope this attention will create a sense of urgency and advocacy for a sound response by the international community.

For now, waiting in N’djamena, I revisit the place and the people in crisis through some photos.

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