The spillover will be devastating for both peace and stability in a region already experiencing political instability, climate extremes, food and water insecurity, and economic decline, the agency warned.
“We are increasingly concerned about an overflow from the security crisis in the Sahel into coastal countries – particularly the Gulf of Guinea,” said WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain following an extensive visit to Chad, Togo, and Benin.
In Chad, conflict, climate shocks, and high food and petrol costs are pushing millions into acute hunger and malnutrition. Chad hosts the largest refugee population of any country in West and Central Africa, and has been gripped by its own rising food insecurity.
The Executive Director traveled together with the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, to the Sudanese border, where some 330,000 people – mostly women and children – have already crossed to escape the violence sparked by the military showdown.
“The people I spoke with on the Chad-Sudan border told me absolutely heartbreaking stories of their dangerous journey, and of loved ones they lost along the way,” Ms. McCain said.
“Too many are injured and malnourished. This is the price innocent people pay for war; what these people have been through is unacceptable, and the world must step up and help them.”
Severe lack of funding
As needs are soaring in Chad, funding has not kept pace. WFP plans to reach two million refugees and vulnerable Chadians with emergency assistance but has struggled to reach even half of this goal due to insufficient funding. According to the WFP, $157 million is urgently needed to stabilize the deteriorating situation.
Ms. McCain visited Abeche, Chad to view WFP’s resilience projects that are assisting communities by laying the groundwork for sustainable food systems and self-sufficiency.
“We act now and stop Chad from becoming another victim of this crisis that has gripped the region or wait and act when it’s too late,” she added.
WFP ‘ready and committed’
Amidst the rising of violence in the Sahel, WFP stands ready and committed to supporting national governments in emergency preparedness and response.
“This is a clear example of how WFP and national governments can work together to achieve human capital development and the overall wellbeing of future generations,” said McCain.
“Urgent action is needed if we do not want to see the crisis spiral out of control.”