The United Nations is warning of a hunger crisis in Central African Republic that is affecting half the country's population.

The U.N. World Food Program said Wednesday that some 2.5 million people in the conflict-ravaged country face hunger. The number has doubled in just one year, officials said.

Central African Republic suffered through a brutal rebel regime and then waves of sectarian violence that has forced nearly 1 million people from their homes over the last three years.

WFP deputy country director Guy Adoua said the instability has kept people from tending to their fields and livestock.

Central African Republic is due to hold a presidential runoff vote later this month and there are concerns that political disputes could lead to renewed clashes.