Some 300,000 people in the Central Africa Republic, CAR, will as from the end of January 2017 stop receiving food aid from the World Food Programme, WFP, officials announced on January 4, 2017. Agency reports say only 400,000 out of the usual 700,000 vulnerable people in the land-locked nation will henceforth receive food aid, with food ratios to be slashed by half.

WFP officials attributed the situation to shortfall in funding. As a result, food aid distributions have become irregular, with support to school canteens in the capital, Bangui, suspended. Meanwhile, Humanitarian Coordinator, Fabrizio Hochschild, has disbursed One million US Dollars (about 629.9 million FCFA) from the CAR Emergency Humanitarian Fund to WFP to attend to most pressing needs. This is while waiting for donors to respond to a recent appeal. However, the emergency assistance will cover only 10 per cent of current needs as WFP actually requires 21.5 million US Dollars (about 13.5 billion FCFA) to tackle the crisis.

The humanitarian situation in CAR was aggravated in the last quarter of 2016 after fighting between rival armed groups displaced 70,000 additional people. The number continues to rise as a result of intermittent armed skirmishes in several prefectures. Consequently, aid agencies say they find it difficult to cope with the needs of vulnerable people, especially food. As at now, 140,000 Internally-displaced People, IDPs and 9,900 refugees, are on food aid from WFP in the Central African Republic.

The World Food Programme warns that the country, which is just coming out of political and military crisis, faces an unprecedented famine if nothing is done. Some 65 per cent of the people who largely depend on farming for livelihood were unable to do so 2016 as a result of insecurity. Consequently, 1.6 million people will still depend on food aid this year. In Mambéré-Kadeï Prefecture for example, 335,822 people are affected by the security situation, with 179,006 in urgent need of food aid.