Darfur killings creating refugee crisis in Chad – UN
Chad is facing a refugee crisis due to an influx of people fleeing violence in neighboring Sudan, the UN reported on Tuesday, adding that the landlocked country is now home to one of Africa’s largest and fastest-growing refugee populations.
According to the agency, the total number of Sudanese refugees in Chad has now surpassed one million, including those who sought refuge during the Darfur civil war in 2003, which left an estimated 300,000 people dead.
The UN Food Program (WFP) warned on Tuesday that aid to more than one million food-insecure people in Chad, including new arrivals from Sudan, could be halted due to funding shortages.
“In December, WFP will be forced to suspend assistance to internally displaced people and refugees from Nigeria, the Central African Republic, and Cameroon due to insufficient funds. From January this suspension will be extended to 1.4 million people across Chad – including new arrivals from Sudan who will not receive food as they flee across the border,” it announced.
Chad already suffers from acute food insecurity and malnutrition, which have been worsened by a deadly mix of intercommunal conflicts and climate-related challenges that have hampered agricultural production. Presently ranked among the world’s top ten hungriest countries, Chad ranked worst in the Global Hunger Index for 2020. Last year, the Chadian military government declared a food emergency and called for external aid.
The escalating refugee crisis adds more strain to food-insecure communities in the Sahel nation, the WFP said, adding that it was only prepared to offer aid to fewer than half of the recipients it had targeted in August.
“WFP was only able to assist 1 million of the 2.3 million it had targeted, leaving 1.3 million without assistance at the peak of the lean season, when hunger bites the hardest,” the UN food agency said.
The fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has been ongoing for seven months, displacing nearly 6.2 million people, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Earlier this month, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported a surge in the number of refugees crossing from Sudan’s West Darfur region into Chad as the conflict between the warring Sudanese factions has allegedly taken on an ethnic dimension. The medical charity claimed that about 7,000 people, including women and children, had entered the Chadian city of Adre in the first three days of this month.