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Starvation Looms for Sudanese Refugees in Chad as Food Aid Funding Dries Up

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Sudanese refugees

CEM REPORT, AGROFOOD | The situation for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees in Chad is growing increasingly dire. The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that food aid for these refugees will be suspended next month without additional funding. This critical shortage comes as many refugees are already struggling with hunger, with some on the brink of starvation.

“We’ve already cut our operations in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, leaving hungry people close to starvation,” said Pierre Honnorat, WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Chad. Honnorat’s stark statement highlights the desperate situation for these refugees who fled conflict in Sudan nearly a year ago.

The conflict in Sudan has displaced millions, with over half a million crossing the border to Chad. This influx has made Chad one of Africa’s main refugee hotspots, with over 1 million refugees now residing in the country. The strain on Chad’s resources is significant, and the WFP’s funding shortfall further exacerbates the situation.

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The consequences of food aid suspension would be devastating, particularly for children. According to the WFP, nearly half of Sudanese refugee children under five are already suffering from severe anemia, a condition caused by iron deficiency and linked to malnutrition. Without access to proper nutrition, these children face stunted growth, weakened immune systems, and an increased risk of death.

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The urgency of the situation is compounded by the approaching rainy season in Chad. During this time, muddy rivers can cut off access to certain refugee populations, making food delivery even more challenging. The WFP is appealing for $242 million to secure ongoing support for the next six months. These funds would allow the WFP to pre-position food stocks in areas at risk of isolation during the rainy season.

Swift action for Sudanese Refugees in Chad

The international community must act swiftly to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. Donors have a critical role to play in providing the WFP with the resources it needs to continue its vital work. Failure to do so will have devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees who depend on this aid for their survival.

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