On a bed at the Notre Dame des Apotres Hospital in the capital N’Djamena, FatimÃ Mahamat Idriss, 28, feeds her gaunt toddler through a feeding tube.
When the harvest failed, her husband sought work in a gold mine in the north, leaving no food for her and their three children.
“He was losing a lot of weight and was getting weaker and weaker.” explains FatimÃ Mahamat Idriss “Now that he is in hospital, he is much better. ”
FatimÃ is far from being the only mother facing this situation. According to Alex Togyangue, nutrition unit head of administration, this year already 1 700 children have been hospitalised, more than the las two years.
Severe drought followed by the worst floods in 30 years have led to rocketing food prices and left a record 2.1 million people in Chad acutely hungry, according to United Nations agencies.
As a result of the climate disaster, 10% of all children under five are affected by acute malnutrition, and one in three will suffer from stunted growth, said the United Nations children’s fund. It is not only their physical growth that is affected.
“When a child is in a state of malnutrition, there is a decrease in his or her cognitive abilities, so it directly influences his or her profitability both academically and in terms of economic productivity, ” says Dr Appolinaire Dotenan, a doctor treating malnutrition.
If the situation does not improve, a whole generation in Chad will see their future compromised because of malnutrition.