WFP warns of imminent food crisis in Freetown

WFP today warned that the capital Freetown faced a “large-scale food crisis” in as little as three weeks. In a news release, the UN food agency noted it had previously estimated Freetown residents could face and extensive food crisis within two months.

“But continued insecurity caused by sporadic fighting between rebels and the Nigerian-led ECOMOG security forces has exacerbated food shortages in the city and displaced more people from their homes, leaving them with no food, water or shelter,” the statement said.

WFP’s West Africa Regional Manager, Paul Ares, said if the problem was not addressed “we’ll be seeing the numbers of people in need of our help skyrocket”.

“If the general population can’t get enough food, we could see a massive movement of people trying to get out of the city...the problem will become bigger than just providing food aid,” he warned. He said the fighting must stop so that reconstruction could begin and the food merchants could replenish their stocks.