BANGUI – Tens of thousands of people risk becoming malnourished unless critical new funding is secured for the World Food Programme in the Central African Republic (CAR).
WFP has a US$15-million shortfall over the next eight months to provide food assistance to some 600,000 food insecure and malnourished people mainly in the conflict-affected North.
New needs have emerged since late 2009 with an influx of 17,500 Congolese refugees into Lobaye region in the South. WFP provides assistance in the eastern regions of Mbomou, Haut-Mbomou and Haut Kotto to 9,100 refugees from Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and 14,000 people forced to flee from their homes by Lord’s Resistance Army attacks.
“The additional needs stretched our resources to the limit,” said WFP Country Director Sitta Kai-Kai. “If funds are not available in the next two months, we will have to reduce rations for some of the 100,000 refugees and displaced and even entirely suspend food assistance for others.”
“This would escalate tensions with the host population as pressure grows on local resources.”
Kai-Kai said that if the funding gap remained when schools re-open in October, rations would be reduced for some 150,000 children receiving school meals, 17,000 acutely malnourished children and 15,000 pregnant and nursing mothers being assisted at nutrition centres.
School attendance would decline and the condition of people treated at nutrition centres would worsen.
WFP faces running out of food in November. It is crucial that new contributions are made soon because it takes four to five months for food to arrive in the CAR, a landlocked country. WFP in particular needs cash so it could buy food locally as well as from neighbouring Cameroon.
Generous donations have already been made in 2010 by the United States, Japan, Canada, France, Switzerland and private donor YUM! Brands. WFP however needs US$6.6 million by September in order to maintain all its programmes in CAR through the end of the year.
For Further Information:
Emilia Casella, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Mob. +41-792-857304
Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202 653 1149, Mob. +1 202 390 2579