The United Nations on Friday launched an appeal for $617.5 million dollars to help the central African state of Chad meet an escalating humanitarian emergency. Around 5.5 million people — a third of the population — need support for food, health, shelter, clean water and other essentials, it said, in an appeal jointly made with the Chadian government. The 2021 request, equivalent to 510 million euros, is 13 percent higher than in 2020. So far, the international community has stumped up less than $50 million for this year. Lying in the arid belt of the Sahel, Chad is facing “three humanitarian crises,” the statement said. Some 4.6 million people suffer from food insecurity, including four million children aged under five; 1.7 million lack access to health services; and the country also hosts a million refugees and displaced people. More than half a million people have fled to Chad from neighbouring Sudan, Central African Republic and Nigeria, while an estimated 460,000 Chadians have been displaced from their homes.