Overall Crime and Safety Situation
U.S. Embassy N’Djamena does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED N’DJAMENA AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Please review OSAC’s Chad-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.
Banditry is common throughout Chad but especially in rural areas between major cities.
Credible reports of carjacking and shakedowns are more common outside of N’Djamena.
Areas of Concern
Eastern N’Djamena has a higher rate of crime than the rest of the city. U.S. Embassy personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in certain areas of N’Djamena and outside the capital. U.S. citizens should be vigilant at public gatherings and locations frequented by foreigners. Visitors are also advised to avoid the Presidential Palace Compound on Avenue Felix Eboue.
Other Areas of Concern
U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to the border regions and exercise extreme caution elsewhere in the country. The Chadian government has increased border patrols and tightened border security in 2016. Chad’s frontiers remain porous, and border controls are rudimentary. Individuals interested in visiting the border zones near Libya and Sudan should secure permission from the Chadian government beforehand. In the south of the country, poachers have reportedly targeted rangers. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services outside of N’Djamena is limited. The Travel Warning for Chad was last updated on November 4, 2016.
Travelers are advised to avoid large concentrations of uniformed security elements and to utilize extreme caution when visiting areas in which the military operates.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Erratic traffic and poor local driving skills make travel especially hazardous and the greatest risk to personal safety. Streets are congested with bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and trucks, all of which may not be properly illuminated at night. Pedestrians, many wearing dark clothing, are difficult to see. Extreme caution must be taken when driving. Cars and large trucks often have only one operable head light, giving the appearance of being a motorcycle at night, or have no headlights, often with deadly consequences for on-coming traffic. Drivers routinely disobey traffic regulations (stopping at red lights, failing to yield the right of way).
If renting a vehicle, inspect the exterior and interior of your vehicle prior to use. Ensure that the vehicle has a copy of a valid insurance policy and registration papers.
The Chadian government maintains heightened security measures within N’Djamena to include checkpoints in the city and vehicle inspections along the perimeter. All drivers are required to stop at these checkpoints and are often requested to present identity documents, submit to a pat-down of their persons, and a search of their vehicle. Although the primary goal is to search and seize illegal weapons, security forces may also impound improperly registered or licensed vehicles. Security services have increased the number of checkpoints and are more frequently using them to conduct impromptu vehicle inspections and/or request money.
In the past few years, the government has invested in several major road projects. Most of the major thoroughfares in N’Djamena are paved, and projects to connect major cities within Chad continue. However, there are still many unpaved roads and most roads, in general, are in poor condition. When traveling on unpaved roads, it is advisable to travel in convoys due to the risk of vehicular breakdowns or becoming stuck in sand/mud. Four-by-four vehicles with winches are recommended for long distance travel especially in the north and east. It is also advisable to carry extra fuel and water, spare tires, tow straps, medical kits, and other necessary supplies.
Outside N’Djamena, larger towns have fuel stations, but the majority of fuel is obtained from roadside vendors and usually stored in glass or plastic bottles. “Fuel stands” can be up to several hundred kilometers apart, and travelers have found themselves stranded for hours waiting for assistance. Additionally, fuel from these stands can be of poor quality. Several jerrycans of fuel should be taken on long journeys, especially to the north and east.
Avoiding isolated areas devoid of security forces, traveling in convoys, and forgoing night time travel will greatly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to a carjacking. Travelers are cautioned to restrict road travel to daylight hours when traveling outside of N’Djamena. The majority of cases of highway banditry occur under the cover of darkness.
Public Transportation Conditions
Public transportation is poorly regulated throughout Chad. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using public transportation (taxis, microbuses) or motorcycles/bicycles as a mode of transportation.
N’Djamena’s Hassan Djammous International Airport continues to benefit from recent infrastructure and security upgrades. Local nationals will try to assist travelers with baggage, and a small fee is customary. If you do not have local currency or are not comfortable with others handling your baggage, decline politely but firmly. Travelers should also be advised that they should not accept rides that were not prearranged. Pre-arranged drivers should produce identification proving that they are the assigned driver.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED N’DJAMENA AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
Violent extremist organizations (Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)) can easily cross borders and target Westerners, local security forces, and civilians in the Lake Chad region.
- In late November 2016, a lone gunman attacked the exterior of he U.S. Embassy N’Djamena with small arms fire, claiming to act in the name of ISIS; however, there were no injuries.
- Boko Haram conducted suicide attacks in N’Djamena, targeting police facilities and a market in 2015, killing dozens.
U.S. citizen missionaries in northern Nigeria and non-governmental organizational workers, tourists, and government leaders in the Far North Region of Cameroon have received specific written threats to their safety and well-being, although none have been harmed. In Chad, the entire Lake Chad region is vulnerable because of Boko Haram activities. Suspected Boko Haram fighters conducted several attacks in the Lake Chad area of Chad in early 2016. Over 108,000 Chadians have been displaced by Boko Harem-related threats in the Lake Chad region.
U.S. citizens travelers should be aware that threats from violent extremist groups remain elevated throughout the Lake Chad Basin.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED N’DJAMENA AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.
Chad’s history has been punctuated by rebellions and coup attempts. The Chadian government, headed by President Idriss Déby Itno and dominated by his Zaghawa ethnic group, is characterized by a strong executive branch that controls the political landscape. The presidential election of April 2016 occurred without major violence.
Civil unrest often affects the border areas with Libya, Sudan, Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Niger, and cross-border clashes occasionally occur.
The education and health care sectors were largely non-functional for the majority of 2016 due to continued strikes over the non-payment of salaries and stipends. Similar strikes or lack of personnel reporting to work contributed to a general slowdown within all government sectors, though strikes concluded by the end of 2016. Most strikes and protests were largely peaceful; however, they occasionally became violent with vehicles set ablaze or stones thrown at police/government vehicles. Extreme caution should especially be used when student demonstrations are in progress. In 2016, Chadian authorities responded to many potential protests by declaring them illegal and deploying large numbers of security forces to prevent demonstrations.
During the rainy season (May-October), roads are often impassable due to standing water or mud.
In the summer, the temperature can climb to 130 degrees Fahrenheit; therefore, precautions must be taken to stay hydrated.
During the dry season (November-April), dust storms may diminish air quality and may lead to the cancellation of flights.
Due to the limited industrial base, there are few reported industrial accidents. Oil fields in the south have stringent safety and security regulations, although Chinese oil companies’ standards have not prevented significant spillage.
Electricity accessibility is poor in N’Djamena and worse in the outlying areas. Most expatriate homes have generators to supplement city power, due to frequent power outages.
Counterfeit pharmaceuticals and artistic works (music, DVDs) are common. Counterfeit watches, sports clothing, footwear, jeans, cosmetics, perfumes, and other goods are also readily available. These products are not produced locally and are generally imported through informal channels. Despite limited resources, Chadian customs officials make occasional efforts to enforce copyright laws, normally by seizing and burning counterfeit medicines, CDs, and mobile phones. Chad does not regularly track and report on seizures of counterfeit goods.
Chad is a member of the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Chad ratified the revised Bangui Agreement (1999) in 2000 and the Berne Convention in 1971. The government adheres to OAPI rules within the constraints of its administrative capacity.
Police response and services vary depending on the service area but are generally good in N’Djamena. Since 2013, the RSO has witnessed improvement in the daily performance of the police in N’Djamena. A police officer assigned to a location can contact his headquarters if assistance is needed.
The limitation in calling 2020 to report an emergency is the lack of actual street addresses: one must describe the location of the emergency using city landmarks, which may be difficult for expatriates. French and Chadian Arabic are spoken in N’Djamena. The vast majority of Chadian police officers do not speak English.
Individuals should not take photos without a permit. The government strictly restricts photography. It is possible for visiting journalists and others to receive permission to take photos, but most working-level security authorities work from the assumption that a foreigner taking photos is breaking the law. Visitors have been detained and had photography equipment seized for taking photographs without purchasing a permit. For more information, please review OSAC’s Report “Picture This: Dos and Don’ts for Photography.”
Crime Victim Assistance
Police, Fire Department, and Ambulance: 2020 (cell phone)
Many companies utilize local police to provide protection of facilities/residences with a small stipend paid to officers. Many banks, construction companies, oil companies, and restaurants obtain police services in this manner.
Medical care in N’Djamena is limited. Outside of the major cities, basic medical care is difficult to find. Chad has limited public ambulance services, but they are extremely expensive.
Contact Information for Available Medical Services
There are two medical clinics in N’Djamena that offer "international standard" medical care: International SOS and Europ Assistance. These are not walk-in clinics, and advance membership is required to access services. Both Europ Assistance and International SOS have private ambulances.
N’Djamena has three other hospitals, two of which should only be used in an extreme emergency only:
- Hopital General de Reference
This is the main public hospital in N’Djamena. It is poorly supplied, and sanitary conditions do not meet international standards. It has a laboratory, x-ray, and ultrasound. Blood transfusion at this facility is not safe. No cardiac services are provided. The morgue is located in this facility.
Tel: (235) 2251-4059
- Hopital Mere et Enfant de N’Djamena
Pediatric services are limited due to lack of trained physicians, nurses, and technical staff. It does not meet Western standards. Blood transfusion at this facility is not safe.
Tel: (235) 2251-5515
- Hopital de la Renaissance
Hopital de la Renaissance is a new hospital in N’Djamena in which most of its staff is Chadian and work under the supervision of French physicians and nurses. CT, ultrasound, X-rays, extensive labs, and surgical/medical care are available. It has five operating rooms, eight intensive care beds, and a fully staffed emergency room. Its capacity is 240 beds. Specialty care varies based on specialists’ presence in town; they offer dental services, gastro intestinal surgery, orthopedic services, and general surgery. Blood products are not readily available. Children cannot be seen at this facility.
Tel: (235) 6084-4397
All hospitals require full payment in cash for services upon entry. Ensure you have enough cash when going to the hospital for care.
Available Air Ambulance Services
International SOS Clinic, Europ Assistance, and Hopital de la Renaissance are the only facilities capable of stabilizing and transporting patients via air ambulance to a site capable of handling emergency and trauma care. Response time is between 12-24 hours. Evacuation is limited to two patients per aircraft.
SOS International Assistance center – Philadelphia, PA - Open 24 hours a day
- International SOS Assistance Inc.
Tel: +1.215.942 8226 or +1 215 942 8189
Fax: +1 215 354 2338
- SOS Tchad - Route de la Résidence Ambassadeur d’Algérie; BP 1215
N'Djamena, Chad BP 1215 Chad
Main Number locally: +22.214.171.124.01
Europ Assistance USA
- 4330 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814
+1 (240) 330-1000 firstname.lastname@example.org
Europ Assistance – Tchad
Main number locally: +235. 126.96.36.199
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
Water from the tap is generally not safe to drink. Bottled water should be the only water consumed unless a purifier or some other form of distilling is used. For more information, please refer to OSAC’s Report, “I’m Drinking What in My Water?.”
Standing water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which spread malaria throughout the central and southern regions of Chad. Malaria is endemic in Chad, and malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended.
The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Chad.
OSAC Country Council Information
Chad has an active OSAC Country Council headed by the RSO of U.S. Embassy N’Djamena. Please contact OSAC’s Africa team if you would like to be put in touch with the RSO.
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
Embassy Address and Hours of Operation
Avenue Felix Eboue
Business Hours for Consular Office: Mon-Thurs 0730-1700; Fri 0730-1230
The U.S. Citizen Services Section in N’Djamena is open to the public for walk-in service for emergency services Mon-Thurs from 0730 to 1700 and Fri from 0730 to 1230 excluding American and Chadian national holidays.
Embassy Contact Numbers
Embassy Operator: (235) 2251-7009
RSO: (235) 2251-7009 x4215
Marine Post One: (235) 2251-7009 x4299
Medical Unit: (235) 2251-7009 x4397
Consular Affairs: (235) 2251-7009 x4311
Pol/Econ Affairs: (235) 2251-7009 x4578
U.S. citizens traveling in Chad are encouraged to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service that helps the U.S. Embassy disseminate information about safety conditions and contact travelers in an emergency.
Chad Country Information Sheet