A local variety of the nutrient-rich, blue-green algae known as spirulina could boost incomes for women in Chad who harvest the product as well as help fight nutrition, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported. The agency is running a $1.4 million project in which women are gathering and processing the product, known locally as dihé, from the shallow pools of water on the edges of Lake Chad where it forms at certain times of the year.

Around 170,000 people were internally displaced in eastern Chad and living in 38 camps in mid-2010, as a result of internal armed conflict, inter-ethnic violence over land and natural resources, and attacks by bandits against civilians. The majority of internally displaced people (IDPs) had little or no means of sustaining themselves, making humanitarian assistance vital. Chad also hosts 270,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 camps along the eastern border with Sudan, and 81,000 Central African more

BET, the acronym for the three northern regions of Chad – Borkou, Ennedi and Tibesti – comes up regularly in meetings of international aid agencies frustrated by the lack of information and difficulty of access to the remote territory. Drought in 2009 triggered the government’s call for international assistance, but no one really knows the full extent of the problem, according to a local NGO.

On 12 May, the United Nations Security Council extended the presence of the United Nations mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) for two weeks until 26 May 2010 to allow for more time to examine a possible revision of the mandate.

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people living in eastern Chad, including more than 450,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur and internally displaced Chadians, are at risk if the UN mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) leaves or no longer has a mandate to protect civilians.