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Hunger Crisis Threatens Chad as Funding for Food Aid Falters

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that food aid for 1.4 million people in Chad faces a “looming halt” because there is no money, even as the country is experiencing an influx of refugees from the fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Funding shortfalls and increasing humanitarian needs mean WFP will have to pause food for millions of displaced people and refugees in Nigeria, Central African Republic and Cameroon from December, the agency said.

From January the suspension will be extended to Chad, a “brutal” decision that will affect “new arrivals from Sudan who will not receive food as they flee across the border”, a WFP statement said.

Nearly half a million Sudanese have crossed into Chad since a power struggle between the two men leading Sudan’s national army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in April sent the country into war. More than 90% of these refugees already do not have enough to eat, according to a recent assessment.

Most have been escaping West Darfur, the site of ethnic-based massacres, widespread rape and other human rights abuses. This month the RSF and allied Arab militias killed at least 1,000 people from the Masalit community in the West Darfur village of Ardamata, prompting warnings of a repeat of the genocide of the early 2000s.

“This forgotten crisis has metastasised as the world’s eyes are on other emergencies,” said Pierre Honnorat, WFP’s country director for Chad. “It is staggering but more Darfuris have fled to Chad in the last six months than in the preceding 20 years. We cannot let the world stand by and allow our life-saving operations to grind to a halt.”

Hundreds of thousands of Chad citizens are also going hungry because of the effects of the climate crisis, inter-communal tensions and rising food and fuel prices. Honnorat warned that cutting food aid would undo years of work combating hunger and “paves the way for crises of nutrition, crises of instability, and crises of displacement”.

WFP needs $185m (£148m) to keep feeding people in Chad for another six months. The agency faces a worldwide funding crisis that has forced it to cut rations and scale back its operations in multiple countries.

Its funding is drying up as the calls on global aid increase. In 2022, the numbers needing humanitarian assistance climbed by almost a third, to 407 million people, a record high, according to Development Initiatives, a data consultancy.

Source: The Guardian