* The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) releases nearly US$ 7 million for humanitarian assistance in the Lac region of Chad

The Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC), Mr. Stephen O’Brien, has approved the allocation of US$ 7 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support humanitarian assistance in the Lac region of Chad.

Prevailing violence and the socio-economic impact of insecurity in this area have incited over 50,000 Chadians to flee the islands of Lake Chad between July and December 2015, to find refuge in dozens of displaced people’s sites, villages and districts, in the prefectures of Baga-Sola, Bol, Daboua, Kangalom and Liwa. In addition, there are some 15,000 Chadian returnees from Nigeria, 14,000 Nigerian refugees and over 700 third country nationals. Displacements have also affected vulnerable host communities, among whom 112,000 people are in need of assistance.

In response to this situation, Mr. Stephen Tull, Humanitarian Coordinator in Chad, declared: “Our priority through this CERF funding, is to bring life-saving assistance to the people mostly affected by this crisis: displaced persons, refugees, and vulnerable host populations, whose livelihood activities– fishing, agriculture, and pastoralism – are limited by insecurity”.

According to Florent Méhaule, Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Chad, “This funding is crucial, because in spite of all the efforts made by humanitarian actors since the beginning of the year 2015, the situation remains of deep concern. The humanitarian response faces several challenges, including difficulties in accessing the populations in need due to insecurity, as well as a lack of resources”.

The 9 projects approved by the CERF will be implemented in the next six months by United Nations Agencies in partnership with NGOs and State services. These projects will provide emergency assistance in food aid, nutrition, protection, health, and education. The funds will be managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The situation remains very dynamic in the Lac region, where more than 16,000 newly displaced people, which are not covered by this CERF allocation, have been identified in the western area, in relation with the latest military operations. “CERF is the main donor for this crisis. Considering the severity of the situation, this funding alone will not cover all needs. Broader donor mobilization is essential in order to respond to most urgent needs and also – in medium and long term – to support the development of this region, including access to basic services and the strengthening of livelihoods”, warned Mr. Tull.