The UN World Food Program warned on Tuesday that a lack of funds risks suspending food and nutrition assistance to more than a million people in Chad, including newly arrived Sudanese refugees.
The organization said funding constraints resulting from a series of other crises, including the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, meant its aid capacity was spread too thin.
It comes “as humanitarian agencies scramble to respond to a new wave of refugees fleeing an unimaginable humanitarian crisis” in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the WFP said in a statement.
“During the last six months of conflict in Sudan, as many refugees have fled to Chad as had in the previous 20 years, since the outbreak of the Darfur crisis in 2003,” the text adds.
The organization said it urgently needs some $200 million in funding.
“The decrease in funding and the skyrocketing immense humanitarian needs are forcing the WFP to make brutal choices,” he adds in a harsh assessment.
“In December, WFP will be forced to suspend aid to displaced people and refugees from Nigeria, the Central African Republic and Cameroon due to insufficient funds.
“Starting in 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 for populations affected by the crisis in Chad over the next six months, WFP urgently needs $185 million,” the organization said.
Even before Chad’s latest civil conflict that broke out last April, the United Nations estimated that the country hosted more than 400,000 refugees who fled Darfur between 2003 and 2020, but that number has risen to nearly 900,000.
WFP spokesperson for West and Central Africa, Djaounsede Madjiangar, called the problem a “forgotten crisis”, made worse by global attention currently largely focused on the conflict in the Middle East and Ukraine.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned last Friday that Sudanese refugee children in Chad were suffering from acute malnutrition, with the organization having treated some 14,000 since the start of the year and hospitalized some 3,000.
The UN estimates 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 people. In Sudan as a whole, the war has displaced more than 4.8 million people.
Sudan has been torn since April by a civil war between the head of the army and de facto head of state, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his former deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, head of the paramilitary forces of fast support.