Funding constraints and rising humanitarian needs could force the World Food Programme (WFP) to halt assistance to more than a million people in Chad, including newly arrived refugees from Sudan, the UN agency said on Tuesday.
The warning comes as aid agencies scramble to respond to a fresh wave of displacement sparked by the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Darfur region of Sudan, with reports of mass killings, rapes and widespread destruction.
The crisis is occurring amid the ongoing war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) which erupted in April.
Millions going hungry
More than 2.3 million people in Chad, including 1.3 million children, were already going hungry due to climate impacts, rising food and fuel prices, declining agricultural production and intercommunal tensions.
The country is hosting more than a million refugees - among the largest and fastest-growing refugee populations in Africa.
"It is staggering but more Darfuris have fled to Chad in the last six months than in the preceding 20 years. We cannot let the world stand and allow our life-saving operations grind to a halt in Chad," said Pierre Honnorat, WFP's Country Director in Chad.
Aid suspension imminent
Mr. Honnorat appealed for greater support to help Sudanese refugees who "cross the border with nothing but harrowing tales of violence."
"Cutting assistance paves the way for crises of nutrition, crises of instability, and crisis of displacement," he warned.
WFP said it will be forced to suspend assistance to internally displaced people and refugees from Nigeria, Central African Republic and Cameroon starting in December.
The suspension will be extended in January to 1.4 million people across the country, including new arrivals from Sudan.
The UN agency is seeking $185 million to support its operations over the next six months.