The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says it could be forced to stop providing humanitarian aid to more than one million people in Chad, including refugees crossing from war-torn Sudan as a result of funding constraints and rising needs.
Pierre Honnorat, WFP’s Country Director in Chad, said more people have fled Sudan’s Darfur to Chad in the last six months than in the last 20 years.
“We cannot let the world stand and allow our life-saving operations grind to a halt in Chad,” he said in a statement on Nov. 21.
Since mid-April, Sudan has been caught in a political crisis between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The crisis has resulted in the deaths of thousands and the displacement of millions, especially from the country’s capital Khartoum.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), at least 6.2 million people have been displaced, 4.7 million people need aid, 20.3 million people face hunger, 19 million children are out of school and 3,000 cholera cases have been recorded since the war started seven months ago.
The ethnic crisis in the Darfur region has further contributed to the displacement of people to neighbouring Chad.
Others have fled Sudan to South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia and Chad.
Several attempts for a truce and to protect civilians in the crisis have failed. The crisis has continued to take a toll on the residents, especially women and children.
Mid November, humanitarian actors convened in Cairo, Egypt and recommended six points to keep responding to the most vulnerable and affected communities in the war-torn African country.
“Humanitarian principles should be the baseline, decentralise humanitarian response based on zones, being in the room differs from being at the decision-making table, engage the diaspora, durable solutions for now, not later, regional perspectives and protection for third-country nationals,” the communique said.
According to WFP, more than 2.3 million people in Chad, including 1.3 million children, were already going hungry due to climate impacts, rising food and fuel prices, declining agricultural production and intercommunal tensions.
Chad is hosting more than a million refugees – among the largest and fastest-growing refugee populations in Africa.
Honnorat appealed for more support to the Sudanese who “cross the border with nothing but harrowing tales of violence.”
“Cutting assistance paves the way for crises of nutrition, crises of instability, and crisis of displacement,” he cautioned.
The statement added that the UN food arm WFP will be forced to suspend assistance to internally displaced people and refugees from Nigeria, Central African Republic, and Cameroon with effect from December.
The suspension will be extended in January to 1.4 million people across Chad, including new arrivals from Sudan.
For the next six months, the UN agency will need $185 million to continue its operations.
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