WFP appeals for extra food for refugees in eastern Chad

Published on 09 January 2004

N\'Djamena - WFP appeals for US$12 million to expand its special feeding in refugee camps in Chad to save tens of thousands of children under the age of five as well as pregnant and nursing women driven from their homes in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

N'DJAMENA - The United Nations World Food Programme appealed today for US$12 million to expand its special feeding in refugee camps in Chad to save tens of thousands of children under the age of five as well as pregnant and nursing women driven from their homes in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

In a bid to stem a tide of malnutrition in the camps in Chad as the rainy season intensifies, WFP said it planned special blanket supplementary feeding for 55,000 children under five and pregnant and nursing women for at least six months. There are more than 170,000 refugees from Darfur in Chad.

"We must catch the most vulnerable groups before their conditions deteriorate, setting off a graver crisis than already exists," said WFP Chad Deputy Country Director Jean-Charles Dei.

Blanket supplementary feeding has already started in three camps in the northern border area of Chad during August; a total of 155 metric tons of food have been distributed to 27,142 beneficiaries with the assistance of World Vision. The camps are at Oure Cassoni near Bahai, and Iridimi and Touloum near Iriba.

One-fifth of the beneficiaries of the blanket supplementary feeding are members of the local population, women and children from families of subsistence farmers and herders who are struggling to cope with the refugee influx that has overwhelmed local supplies of food and water.

Blanket supplementary feeding is one of a series of measures used by UN aid agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations to cut malnutrition rates in the camps. Others include improving sanitation, increasing the supply of drinking water, extending vaccinations and providing health education.

Under WFP's blanket supplementary feeding plan, each child under five and pregnant or nursing women will receive extra rations of corn-soya blend, sugar and vegetable oil to give them 1,000 extra calories per day on top of the standard 2,100 calories per day all refugees should receive.

The need for blanket supplementary feeding was established by a joint team from WFP and the UN refugee agency in late July that investigated conditions in the northern and central border areas. It also recommended community health education, better access to safe water, improved sanitation and the wider provision of soap, blankets and mosquito nets for the refugees.

It said malnutrition resulted from several factors including poor sanitation, poor water supplies and shelter, inadequate therapeutic and supplementary feeding and camps being inaccessible.

In June, a survey of three refugee camps, two refugee settlements and 11 villages in the northern border area led by the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that malnutrition rates were alarming and that only immediate public health measures would prevent a severe escalation.

Meanwhile, WFP continues to battle nature in the form of flooded wadis and roads to keep the refugee camps in Chad supplied with food through the rainy season, which ends in October. The rains have virtually wiped out what little road infrastructure exists in Chad, blocking transport by vehicles from the capital N'djamena to the refugee sites nearly 1,000 kilometres away.

The French military is airlifting WFP food and other supplies from N'djamena to Abeche in eastern Chad in airlifts that began in early August. WFP is trucking food to the camps across the Sahara desert via Libya under an unprecedented agreement between the agency and the Libyan government.

With the added burden of the blanket supplementary feeding programme, WFP revised its budget for feeding Sudanese refugees in Chad by US$12 million to US$42,352,057 for 31,488 metric tons of food through 2004. To date, WFP has received $26.5 million from Australia, Canada, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, leaving a shortfall of 37 percent.

 

 

Note to Editors: Given the urgent need for massive funding to reach Darfur, kindly consider including the donation links below if you are listing organisations to which your readers can donate. For on-line stories, please find our banner.

Donate Online: http://www.wfp.org/donation
Darfur Crisis: http://www.wfp.org/crisis/darfur

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.

 

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org)

Peter Smerdon, WFP/Nairobi, Tel +254-20-622179, Mob. + 254-733-528911

Nancy Palus, WFP/N'djamena, Tel +235 51 54 74

Caroline Hurford, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132330, Mob. +39-3481325018

Christiane Berthiaume, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Mob. +41-79-2857304

Trevor Rowe, WFP/NY, Tel. +1-212-9635196, Mob. +1-646-8241112, rowe@un.org

Jordan Dey, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1-202-4223383