The Republic of Chad, in central Africa has suffered from a continuous drought over the last five years.
The Republic of Chad, in central Africa has suffered from a continuous drought over the last five years. At the end of last month this drought was broken by heavy rainfall over most of the country.
The rain, in its turn has brought serious problems in exactly the opposite way.
Serious flooding occured throughout the country. In less than a week 16 villages were wiped off the map Crops and personal possessions all fell victim to the flood water.
At least 1200 families lost everything within that period.
The extensive drought which has affected the Sahel belt that stretches across the African continent south of the Sahara from Mauritania to Ethiopia, has in many ways been hardest on Chad.
Situated in the very centre of the continent it is furthest from any ports through which relief supplies may enter. It is a difficult, thousand mile (1,600 km), haul from Lagos Nigeria. Difficulties also arrive when the supplies reach N'Djamena, the capital of Chad. There is only one ferry across the Chari river and this bottleneck prevents many of the supplies reaching their destination.
The country has bene unable to supply its food needs since the start of the drought and although the rains have offered some relief in the form of improved harvest this year, the Government says the situation is still 'very worrying."
The Government has embarked on a programme to distribute supplies of millet seed for planting to make use of the water. But Government spokesmen say even if there is regular rainfall until October the resultant harvest will not be enough to alleviate the food shortage in Chad.
One major problem could be that many of the country's farmers will be unable to till their land because they have been so weakened by the effects of the long drought.