Overpopulation, corruption and chronic droughts has left over two million people in need of food aid over the next few months. Child mortality is up 15 percent in the last year, and hunger among children is becoming more common, and obvious. The problem is more desperate for the 400,000 refugees in eastern Chad, where the UN has only been able to raise about a third of the money needed to continue food aid. It's expensive feeding the starving in Chad, because the food must be trucked in, and get past bandits and breakdowns in the middle of nowhere. Donors are discouraged by the high costs and losses to corrupt local officials and bandits.
Another chronic problem is an estimated million mines in the north. In the last decade there have been a thousand mine deaths up there, despite over $27 million (most of it foreign aid) spent on demining. The usual culprits, corruption and mismanagement, are at fault. Chad officials blame overpaid NGOs and foreign experts. But like most of Chad's woes, the problems are closer to home. The north is thinly populated and several rebel groups exist up there. So there's no rush to remove those mines. In the last few years, less than a hundred mines a year have been cleared.
In neighboring CAR (Central African Republic) the flow of refugees coming into Chad has slowed. Most of the violence is in southern CAR, where local self-defense groups are forming, to deal with the growing number of bandits, and the many rebel groups, which act like bandits with flags. There are also troops from Uganda and South Sudan (as opposed to the Sudanese government) wandering around in southern CAR. The Ugandans continued to hunt Ugandan LRA rebels, while the South Sudan troops are hunting game. Uganda reports that at least ten of its troops were killed in an accidental clash with South Sudanese forces in the last month.
To no one's surprise, Chad, Sudan and CAR made the top ten in a recent "Failed States" list.
June 6, 2010: In the east, a British aid worker was kidnapped. He was freed eight days later by soldiers who stopped the kidnappers and their hostage, near the Sudanese border. The kidnappers were driving the victims vehicle, as well as another one. Robbery is a growing problem for foreign aid workers, who have so much to steal. Many foreign aid groups are planning to leave Chad, because the 3,000 UN peacekeepers will be gone (at government request) by the end of the year.