With less than half of the needed funds in hand, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today said starvation is looming over 27,000 Central African Republic refugees who escaped from fighting between Government and rebel forces in the last two years and took refuge in Chad.
"The food stocks are exhausted," warned WFP Chad Representative Philippe Guyon Le Bouffy. "If we do not receive more funding for this operation, WFP will be forced to stop assisting these people who are reliant on food aid."
He cautioned that the situation would have effects beyond food security. "If WFP food aid stops, these refugees will depend on the host communities, who have meagre resources. This could lead to grave socio-economic destabilization."
Last July, the agency requested $3.4 million to assist the refugees living in two camps in Chad, but has so far received less than half that amount - just $1.48 million.
WFP provides a monthly ration of sorghum, maize meal, oil and beans, as well as special foods for pregnant and lactating women and malnourished children, in programmes run by Médecins sans Frontières-Belgium.
Among the donors to the camps in Chad were the United States, which gave over $643,500, and Denmark, which donated some $41,000. WFP contributed an additional $795,096 from multilateral funds.