The World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) say they require an additional U.S.$161 million by the end of 2022 to continue to provide life-saving assistance to crisis-affected communities in Chad.
According to the UN entities, refugee communities in the country are already facing severe levels of malnutrition, with some reporting chronic rates of up to 42 percent.
This is expected to worsen if additional funding is not received before the end of 2022.
‘Refugees count on us for what is sometimes the only meal they eat in a day – WFP’s food is a vital lifeline’, WFP Country Director and Representative in Chad, Pierre Honnorat, said in a statement.
‘Cutting this lifeline now will have devastating consequences on the most vulnerable, especially women, girls and children – we are extremely concerned’.
Chad is facing both conflict and cyclical natural disasters and is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Millions of people are food insecure and lack access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities as well as health care.
Conflict-induced displacement has exacerbated health and protection risks, leaving women and girls vulnerable to discrimination and gender-based violence.
Violence and conflict in neighbouring countries have also resulted in an influx of refugees and asylum-seekers, further posing limited capacity to support displaced people due to the lack of resources and infrastructure.
This year, refugees and host communities have been hard-hit by unprecedented flooding and spiralling food costs.
‘We have received reports of an increase of malnourished children admitted in health centres, and have witnessed less children than usual attending school when compared to last year, as they are sent to the fields or towns to work’, said UNHCR Chad Representative, Laura Lo Castro.
‘Food aid is critical to saving lives in the short term, but also to safeguard ongoing and future resilience programmes’.
According to WFP and UNHCR, they are concerned that any further suspension of food assistance in the country will have a severe impact on the food security, nutrition, and protection of refugee communities.
Photo source: WFP