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Animal Crisis in Chad February 2009      


Jeremy Hulme, Director of SPANA, approached HSI Australia last year to help with the crisis in Chad. Chad is a desert country with extremely limited natural resources even in years of good rains, but now refugees from neighbouring Sudan/Dafur and villagers alike were having to compete for basic things like food and water for their animals ' “ and since their animals are a matter of life and death for them, they will fight to keep those animals alive.

SPANA's task was to find ways to support animal owners, and they had already instituted some training schemes for Community Animal Health Workers in the camps and provided supplementary feeding for animals (worth noting that before their involvement, at the request of the UN, it was quite common for up to 50% of all animals in the refugee camps to die of starvation' ¦that hasn't been something that's occurred this year!)

They had also begun the construction of two water catchment points ' “ these trap the water from seasonal rain run off that would otherwise be lost every year into the sand ' “ two huge water points each capable of holding 2000 cubic metres of rainwater were being constructed in eastern Chad and the primary beneficiaries (since the aid agencies provide water for refugee populations) would be the livestock, and working animals like donkeys and mules.

However more water points were needed, and so HSI stepped in with the funds needed to construct a new major waterpoint. SPANA visited nearly all the refugee camps and met representatives of all the animal committees there, along with a number of people from the Chadian villages. Without exception they all said that the shortage of water for livestock was an overriding concern.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees also asked SPANA to develop a strategic plan to protect and support all livestock in the region which we were keen on supporting. This has now been presented and although the economic downturn will mean a scaling down of the ambitious program, the contributions from HSI supporters have helped secure a future for the animals of Chad.
Image courtesy of SPANA

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