UN: Refugees in Chad face food insecurity

New York, US (PANA) - A joint assessment by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) has revealed that 43 per cent of refugees who have lived in Chad for more than 10 years continue to face a precarious food security situation and require assistance.

A UN statement obtained by PANA in New York on Monday said Chad is home to some 400,000 refugees, 310,000 of whom are from Darfur (Sudan) and another 70,000 from Central African Republic (CAR).

Those from Sudan have been arriving since 2002, while those from CAR have been displaced for more than 10 years. The country has also received 5,000 refugees from Nigeria as a result of the violence perpetuated by Boko Haram.

These people are in addition to 100,000 internally displaced persons who live at makeshift sites and 5,000 urban refugees who live in N’Djamena, the country’s capital, without assistance.

In addition to the high number of refugees who are food insecure, more than 40 per cent are suffering from chronic malnutrition and the majority of children under the age of five are affected by anaemia.

The statement quoted WFP Chad Country Director Mary-Ellen McGroarty as saying: "Lack of resources has forced us to reduce food rations for refugees to less than half."

She noted that biometric registration and careful targeting according to vulnerability and needs have somewhat lessened the impact of the cuts, and WFP continues to explore opportunities with UNHCR that would link food and non-food assistance to longer-term resilience projects that would benefit both refugees and local communities.

"In order to diversify refugees’ meals and stimulate local markets, WFP is also looking into cash assistance. However, the short term requires basic food needs to be met in order to prevent further deterioration to their nutritional situation," she stated.

The joint assessment also reported a need to invest in training, small trade, and microfinance schemes or farming projects. It recommended that voluntary returns ought to be considered once the situation in peoples’ countries of origin allowed.

On his part, UNHCR Representative in Chad Jose Antonio Canhandula, said: "We must retain the protection character of our refugee operation and the social contract between UNHCR and the Chadian government.

"We should also move on from offering assistance to investing in human capacities, and integrate the refugee programme into a broader development programme. Our international protection mandate cannot be fully achieved without ensuring food security for refugees and for their host communities."
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  28Nov2016

28 november 2016 17:31:55

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