Funding shortfall threatens 200000 Darfur refugees with hunger UN warns

Just days after warning that a drastic shortage of money will force it to cut rations to more than 1 million people hit by fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has added a further 200,000 refugees who fled to neighbouring Chad to the list of those facing hunger without new donations.“We need food now,” WFP Chad Country Director Stefano Porretti said, appealing for $87 million in food aid to cover needs in refugee camps of eastern Chad until the end of next year.“With the rains only a matter of two or three months away, it is absolutely imperative that we move food to the places where it will be needed later this year. This process has already begun but is far from complete,” he said, noting that prior stockpiling is vital since road transport becomes impossible across most of the region during the rains.Under a revision of its current emergency operation, WFP will also be assisting over 150,000 Chadian nationals as well as providing for the possibility that an additional 150,000 people could cross the border from Darfur if the conflict continues.Last Wednesday the agency announced that starting in May it would have to cut by half the non-cereal part of the daily ration it provides for more than 1 million people in Darfur itself, a last resort to help stretch current food supplies through the critical months of July and August – the traditional lean period when food needs become most acute.Tens of thousands people have been killed and more than 2 million others uprooted in Darfur in the past two years in fighting between Government, militia and rebel forces, originally sparked in part by local calls for a greater share in economic development for the western part of Africa’s largest country.

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