Crisis in Chad

A Tribute to Pascal Marlinge

Pascal laying the first brick of a Save the Children supported nutrition clinic in Abeche town, eastern Chad

Photo: Pascal laying the first brick of a Save the Children supported nutrition clinic in Abeche town, eastern Chad

Pascal Marlinge, Save the Children's country director in Chad, was murdered by a gunman when driving to an airstrip near the border with neighbouring Sudan earlier this month.

Pascal, 49, a French national, was a powerhouse in the aid community and inspired all those he worked with, both at Save the Children and at other aid agencies. His death has deeply affected his friends and colleagues.

Helle Garro, a programme manager for Save the Children in Chad, described Pascal's death as violent and unjust. "We had just spent two days with Pascal here in Hadjer Hadid and, with his usual energy and commitment, he left the team with the strength and willingness necessary to continue to improve and increase our response to the beneficiaries."

She said that when Pascal left Hadjer Hadid he was "expressing great enthusiasm" about his staff's new education work in the area. He died "on his way to fight for an improved education for the children of Chad" she added.

Everyone who knew Pascal talks of his drive and passion. One aid worker in Chad said: "He had an energy and a big presence. He spoke with authority and his opinions were backed by experience. He was knowledgeable and highly regarded.

"Personally, I felt that if I ever had a problem he would be able to sort me out."

Gareth Owen, Save the Children's London-based Head of Emergencies, knew Pascal well.

"Pascal was a man that I greatly admired and respected. He had that special, rare, human spirit. He was a true leader who never asked anyone to do anything he was not prepared to do himself.

"He led from the front and thought always of others before himself. In the end, he gave his life doing just that.

"There are many human qualities that make truly great aid workers: leadership, courage, humility, honesty, resilience, empathy, tireless energy and a healthy sense of humour. He possessed all these in great measure."

Pascal was very much loved by all. We will always remember him and our memory of him will give us strength to carry on. We owe him that.

Save the Children in Chad

Due to the escalating insecurity in eastern Chad — resulting in the killing of two staff members — Save the Children has been forced to temporarily suspend its activities. We are investigating the circumstances of these tragic incidents and re-assessing the security situation.

The crisis in Chad

Nearly half a million people are currently living in camps in Chad. Repeated attacks on villages in the east of the country have forced approximately 180,000 Chadians to flee their homes. And the country is also now hosting over 300,000 refugees from Darfur and the Central African Republic.

Many Darfuri refugees have been in Chad since fighting first broke out in Darfur in 2003. But thousands more have arrived following the recent fighting in both countries. Over 60 % of the refugees are thought to be children and many of the new arrivals are in desperate condition. Grouped together in camps, children and their families are living in basic shelters with little access to food, water and medical care.

What we’ve been doing

We've been working in eastern Chad in two camps in Aradip and Dogdore, for displaced Chadian people. We've also been working in Bredjing, a camp in eastern Chad for Darfuri refugees.

We run education, child protection, nutrition and health programmes, as well as distributing emergency supplies, such as blankets and plastic sheeting, benefiting 35,000 children.

Education

We've been providing training for teachers, animators and local community leaders who are educating children living in the Adradip and Dogdore camps. We also provide recreational and educational activities for children, building temporary schools and distributing education materials.

Child protection

In Dogdore camp, we've established child friendly spaces and children's clubs where children can play with their friends and where support is provided to extremely vulnerable children. These children were identified through our child protection committees — local women, men and children who we've trained on child protection issues.

We've also been advocating for local authorities to put better, more sustainable, child protection measures in place.

Healthcare and nutrition

Our primary healthcare programme in Brejding camp provides access to healthcare and nutrition services to 42,000 people — of which more than half are children below the age of 18. Services are provided to refugees as well as to villagers living around the camp.

We also launched an innovative community-based therapeutic care project a year ago at the main hospital in the town of Abeche. The majority of children are now treated for malnutrition in their homes with visits from nutritionists, avoiding long stays at the hospital for treatment.

Internally Displaced Person site near Koukou in eastern Chad. In eastern Chad, repeated attacks on villages have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Photo Credit: Fily Diallo

How you can help

Personal stories

Read Amina's story — hear how she had to flee her home and how she's surviving in a camp near Koukou.