Chad declares ‘food emergency,’ urges international help

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Chad on Thursday declared a “food emergency” in the impoverished landlocked country, urging the international community to help.

The plea for aid comes before a meeting Friday between the head of the African Union and Russia’s president to discuss grain supplies in the aftermath of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

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“Following the constant deterioration of the food and nutritional situation this year and taking into account the growing risk to populations if no humanitarian aid... is provided, this decree declares a food emergency,” read the document signed by the head of the military junta ruling the country.

“The government calls on all national actors and international partners to help the populations,” the decree said.

The United Nations has warned that 5.5 million people in Chad – more than a third of the population – would need humanitarian assistance this year.

The World Food Program in March estimated that 2.1 million Chadians would be “severely food insecure” during the lean season starting in June.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions on Moscow have disrupted deliveries of wheat and other commodities from the two countries, fueling concerns about the risk of hunger around the world.

Around 30 percent of the world’s wheat supply comes from Ukraine and Russia.

Food prices in Africa have already exceeded those in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab springs and the 2008 food riots.

On Friday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will receive Senegalese President Macky Sall, who chairs the African Union, to discuss “freeing up stocks of cereals and fertilizers, the blockage of which particularly affects African countries,” Sall’s office has said.

Chad is the planet’s third poorest nation, the United Nations says.

In 2021, it ranked 113 out of 116 nations on the “Global Hunger Index” – a peer-reviewed tool compiled by European NGOs.

A junta led by General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno has ruled Chad since last year, after his father, long-serving strongman Idriss Deby Itno, died in battle.

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