Flood-hit Chad declares state of emergency

The floods, caused by heavy rains in the south and central areas, have hit 18 of the country's 23 provinces

Residents try to salvage items from houses submerged by floods in N’Djamena on October 18, 2022. – Flooding has destroyed dozens of houses in Walia, a poor neighbourhood in the south of Chad’s capital N’Djamena. The Chari River burst its banks last week following torrential rains and water levels rose five metres (16 feet), tearing apart makeshift flood defences. (Photo by Denis Sassou Gueipeur / AFP)

Chad’s leader Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno has declared a state of emergency as the country struggles to deal with exceptional flooding that has affected hundreds of thousands of lives.

The floods, caused by heavy rains in the south and central areas, have hit 18 of the country’s 23 provinces and affected “more than a million people”, Deby said in a television address, adding that no one had yet died as a result.

The flood water has “swallowed  up more than 465,000 hectares of fields and 19,000 heads of livestock,” he added.

“A state of emergency will be instituted to better contain and manage this natural disaster situation,” Deby announced.

“The areas most at risk are the capital N’Djamena and surrounding areas,” the president said, calling the situation “increasingly worrying”.

Chad is the world’s third poorest country, according to the benchmark of the UN’s Human Development Index.

The United Nations says 5.5 million Chadians need “emergency humanitarian aid”, while the World Bank says 42 percent of the 16 million population live in poverty.

“We have to provide shelter, basic necessities and health protection,” Deby said.

“We have to thank the Almighty who has spared us the loss of life until now,” he added.

He urged “friendly countries” and “technical and financial partners” to support the government’s efforts.

The 38-year-old five-star general took the helm in April 2021 after his father, Idriss Deby Itno — Chad’s iron-fisted ruler for three decades — was killed during an operation against rebels.


© Agence France-Presse

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