15 November 2005

Togo: Food for Togo Crisis Victims Will Run Out By Year End, UN Aid Agency Warns

Photo: Etonam Ahianyo/IRIN
Corn farmers in Mivakpo, 50km northwest of Togo's capital, Lomé.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that unless $1 million was immediately forthcoming from international donors, over 65,000 victims of this year's political upheaval in Togo risk not receiving any outside sustenance by the end of this year.

"These people have virtually nothing and the world is in danger of ignoring their most basic needs," said Mustapha Darboe, WFP's Regional Director for West Africa.

"A break in food supplies would leave many unable to feed themselves as they do not have alternative means of subsistence," he added.

The agency said there are also growing concerns that an abrupt halt to aid deliveries could spark unrest in the camps and communities housing people displaced by the February political crisis, which was sparked by the death of long-time president Gnassingbé Eyadéma.

Subsequent factional fighting, in which at least 400 people were believed killed, created an environment of fear and prompted many people to flee across borders into Ghana and Benin, where they sought shelter either in refugee camps or with local communities.

Most vulnerable, said WFP, are 10,000 refugees in two camps in Benin, who depend entirely on outside assistance for their immediate food needs. Some 17,000 others living in host communities have also not yet received any assistance.

In Ghana, although 8,000 refugees are currently getting food aid, an additional 10,000 living in host communities have not yet received any.

In addition, at least 3,000 of the 16,000 people thought to have fled their homes to places of sanctuary within Togo have not yet returned. WFP is assisting members of host communities whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the influx of those displaced.

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