N'Djamena [Chad], November 23: The UN's World Food Program on Tuesday warned lack of funds threatened to halt food and nutrition assistance for more than a million people in Chad - including newly arrived Sudanese refugees. The organization said funding constraints emanating from a range of other crises including the wars in Gaza and Ukraine meant its capacity to help was spread too thin. It comes "as aid agencies scramble to respond to a fresh wave of refugees fleeing an unimaginable humanitarian crisis" in Sudan's western region of Darfur, WFP said in a statement.
"In just the last six months of conflict in Sudan, as many refugees have fled into Chad as had crossed the border in the preceding 20 years starting from the outbreak of the Darfur crisis in 2003," it added. The organization said it urgently needed some $200 million of funding. "Dwindling funding and soaring immense humanitarian needs is forcing WFP into making brutal choices," it added in a stark assessment.
"In December, WFP will be forced to suspend assistance to internally displaced people and refugees from Nigeria, Central African Republic, and Cameroon due to insufficient funds. "From January this suspension will be extended to 1.4 million people across Chad - including new arrivals from Sudan who will not receive food as they flee across the border. "To ensure continued support to crisis-affected populations in Chad over the next six months, WFP urgently requires $185 million," the organization said.
Even prior to the latest civil conflict in Chad which broke out last April, the United Nations estimated the country was hosting more than 400,000 refugees who had fled Darfur between 2003 and 2020, but that number has mushroomed to almost 900,000.
The WFP's spokesperson for western and central Africa, Djaounsede Madjiangar, branded the problem a "forgotten crisis" aggravated by the world's attention currently being largely focused upon the conflict in the Middle East and Ukraine. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned last Friday that Sudanese child refugees in Chad were suffering acute malnutrition, the organization having treated some 14,000 since the turn of the year with some 3,000 hospitalized.
The UN estimated that some 8,000 Sudanese entered Chad in the first week of this month alone fleeing the latest wave of violence in Darfur, where conflict has displaced more than two million. In Sudan as a whole, war has displaced more than 4.8 million people.
Sudan has since April been torn by civil war between army chief and de facto head of state General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. - AFP
Source: Kuwait Times