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Darfur refugees in eastern Chad close to starving

July 23 - 2014 EASTERN CHAD

Soaring prices and the reduction of food rations have forced a number of Darfuri refugees in the eastern Chad camps to break the fast with bread made of toxic mekheit seeds, and to dig into ant hills in search for food.  

The refugees in eastern Chad are facing extremely difficult humanitarian conditions, Ali Yagoub, the head of the Treguine refugee camp told Radio Dabanga.

“The people in the camps are almost starving, as the current food ration contains a little sugar, vegetable oil, and 15 grams of sorghum per capita a day. Flour, salt, and soap have been cut. Because the people do not find work to earn some income, they are forced to dig into ant hills in search of food, and resort to making bread from the toxic mekheit seeds.

The camp head appealed to the World Food Programme to speed up the provision of food.

850 kilocalories a day

On 1 July, the heads of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, urgently appealed for extra funding. In a joint press release, they warned that funding difficulties, compounded by security and logistical problems in some countries, have forced cuts in food rations for nearly 800,000 refugees in Africa.

In the press release, the two UN agencies state that the refugees in Chad are facing the severest food cuts.

“Some 300,000 refugees in Chad, primarily from Sudan's Darfur region in the east and from the Central African Republic in the south, are among the worst affected by the cuts. Food distributions there have been slashed by up to 60 percent, leaving refugees with a scant 850 kilocalories per day. In the south of Chad, some refugees are able to grow food on small plots provided by the government. In the arid east, however, that is not an option for most refugees. Nor is it a viable solution for newly arriving refugees.”

Generally, the WFP tries to provide 2,100 kilocalories per refugee a day.

File photo: It can take decades for a colony of ants to build a hill of this size (Shutterstock Images)


Hungry Darfuri refugees eat toxic seeds (2 July 2014)

WFP, UNHCR appeal for urgent extra funding (2 July 2014)

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