GENEVA (AFP) - The head of the International Red Cross warned Tuesday that soaring food prices are exacerbating the misery of millions of poor people already suffering in war zones from Chad to Afghanistan. "The recent rise in food and fuel prices is making life even harder for poor people already struggling to cope with the effects of war and internal violence," said Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). "This is especially the case in countries such as Chad, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Haiti," he added. Kellenberger would not be drawn however on any specific risks or future flashpoints. "I was not indirectly making allusions to specific contexts - by the way, if I had them in mind, it would not be extremely intelligent to mention them," he said. "It will be a year of very high expenditure," Kellenberger told journalists. The price surge means that the ICRC's field expenditure by the end of May already amounted to 1.047 billion Swiss francs ($1b), around 100 million Swiss francs higher than the total budget for 2007, Kellenberger said. "It will be a year of very high expenditure," he told journalists. Food expenditure alone stood at more than 100 million Swiss francs, more than double the 38 million spent in 2007, he added. Despite price increases, Kellenberger said the ICRC intends to maintain its planned volume of relief distributions, supplies of drinking water and level of medical aid in the 52 countries where it helps civilian populations. It is also extending aid to those left most vulnerable by the food crisis, for example by stepping up relief for conflict-affected communities in Yemen and Somalia. The ICRC has increased its budget in war-torn Somalia by 55 million Swiss francs to be able to provide full food rations for 4 months for 500,000 people, Kellenberger said. He warned of the risk of "food-related violence" if the price hikes continue. Already in April, soaring food prices in Haiti sparked riots that left six people dead and 200 more injured, leading to the ouster of prime minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis. The ICRC said it spent 944 million Swiss francs in 2007, with nearly half (45 per cent) of field expenditure going to Africa and 21 percent to the Middle East. Sudan was the largest single operation with a budget of 94 million Swiss francs, followed by Iraq (76.5 million), Israel and the Palestinian territories (61.4 million), Afghanistan (49.8 million) and Somalia (49.2 million). It carried out water, sanitation and construction projects benefiting more than 14 million people, and supported healthcare facilities that treated nearly 2.9 million people, including supplies for large hospitals in Afghanistan, and the deployment of mobile surgical teams in Chad and Sudan. The ICRC stressed the plight of internally displaced people, particularly in Iraq and Sudan but also Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka and Yemen. In total the ICRC said that more than four million displaced people benefited from its activities in 2007.