WFP forced to halve rations to refugees in Kenya
from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI – ABOUT 500 000 refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in remote areas in northern Kenya have suffered a further blow after the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced it would reduce food rations by half as a result of financial constraints.
The ration cut of 50 percent, starting this coming Saturday, comes as WFP struggles to raise US$38 million to cover its refugee operation for the next six months.
This includes US$15,5 million urgently required to address food needs
through January 2015.
“WFP has done everything it can to avoid reducing rations, using all means at our disposal to cover critical funding gaps,” said Paul Turnbull, WFP Deputy Country Director for Kenya.
“Cutting rations is the last resort and we’re doing it to eke out the
limited food we currently have available over the next ten weeks, as we
continue to appeal to the international community to assist.”
Each month, WFP distributes 9 700 metric tons of food for some 500 000 refugees in Kenya, at a cost of almost US$10 million.
The refugees, mainly from South Sudan and Somalia, are provided with a
food ration of cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, a nutrient-rich maize-soya
blend and salt, providing 2 100 kilocalories per person per day, the
recommended emergency ration.
From Saturday, the refugees will receive a food ration equivalent to 1 050 kilocalories per day.
“WFP depends entirely on voluntary contributions from donors who
generously support food assistance for refugees,” said Valerie Guarnieri,
WFP’s Regional Director for East and Central Africa.
“With competing humanitarian needs around the world, we realize budgets are tight but nonetheless, we must call for more funding so that we can work with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to meet the urgent needs of these vulnerable people, who have no other means of support.”
WFP expects to distribute half-rations until the end of January 2015, when a shipment of food assistance donated by the United States of America, sufficient for six weeks’ food requirements, is expected to arrive.
– CAJ News
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