Lack of funding could put half a million in Chad at risk, warn UN aid officials

Lack of funding could put half a million in Chad at risk, warn UN aid officials

United Nations humanitarian officials have repeated their appeal for funds to support nearly half a million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Chad, noting that less than 20 per cent of the $290 million requested last December has been provided.

Only $51 million has been received so far for the 2008 Humanitarian Appeal for Chad, which covers 70 projects proposed by eight UN agencies and 14 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said he was still hopeful that donors will respond generously to the appeal.

“But if funding trends do not significantly improve in the coming months, this could have devastating consequences for nearly half a million people who heavily rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival,” he warned.

In addition to the more than 180,000 IDPs who have fled internal conflict in the east of the country, Chad also hosts over a quarter of a million refugees from the Sudan, and more than 57,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR).

Solofo Ramaroson, head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) field office in Chad’s eastern town of Abéché, also cautioned that “should our life-saving operations ever be interrupted, whether due to lack of funding or to insecurity, the current crisis would seriously deteriorate within a short period of time.”

Humanitarian actors in Chad are set to meet in May to revise the humanitarian needs and the requirements for the response.

The acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Chad, Eliane Duthoit, noted that the 2007 Humanitarian Appeal for the country was the “best-funded worldwide,” having received 99 per cent of the $274 million requested.

The contributors to this year’s appeal include Canada, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United States.