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World Food Program Cuts Rations to Kenya by 30 Percent


This is the second time in six months that the WFP has been forced to reduce its level of food aid to Kenya

An estimated half million refugees living in northern Kenya are reliant on the WFP’s rations.

Amid dwindling supplies and funding, the United Nations World Food Program, which supplies emergency rations to roughly 80 million people in 75 countries, has announced that it will cut aid to Kenyan refugees by 30 percent.

This is the second time in six months that the WFP has had to reduce its food rations to refugees in Kenya, an estimated population of half a million people.

“Starting on Monday, refugees in the camps — most of whom come from Somalia and South Sudan — will receive 30 percent less food than usual,” the organization announced. “WFP expects that the ration cut will need to continue at least through September unless new funds become available very quickly.”

The program is struggling to raise $39.4 million to cover shortages through January next year, of which $12.4 million is “urgently required” to avoid a critical food gap between this August and September.

“We are very worried about how this cut may affect the people who rely on our assistance,” said Thomas Hansson, WFP’s acting country director for Kenya. “But our food stocks are running out, and reducing the size of rations is the only way to stretch our supplies to last longer. We hope that this is only a temporary measure and we continue to appeal to the international community to assist.”

In December, the WFP was forced to suspend its aid to Syria, but later resumed the program after an emergency funding appeal.

Similarly, the WFP stated that “if there is an immediate response from donors, WFP would be able to buy food available in [Kenya] and quickly transport it to the camps to reduce the impact of the cuts on refugees.”


UN warns of hunger as food cuts loom for refugees

The United Nations World Food Program has warned that it will soon be forced to cut further food ration in the refugee camps unless urgent additional funding is received in time.

Already, more than 2.7 million refugees in East Africa have been affected by a reduction in food rations and cash transfers, as donors slashed funding due to the impact of coronavirus.

The latest cut was in April 2020 when food rations were reduced by 30 percent.

The countries affected by the reduction in food and cash transfers include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan and Djibouti.

Activists warn that the food cuts are set to further complicate the lives of hundreds of refugees whose small businesses have been paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic.

WFP highlighted that women, children, and the elderly were the worst-affected by the slash in food rations and cash transfers, heightening the risk of malnutrition among the groups.

Michael Dunford, the Eastern Africa Regional Director for WFP says refugees are especially vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus because they are living in crowded camps with weak or inadequate shelter, health services, and access to clean water and sanitation.

He lamented that children were forced to stay out of school as learning institutions in refugee camps remain shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means that the children miss out on free meals provided in the institutions.

The UN food agency appealed both to traditional donors and potential donors, such as international financial institutions, to step forward and assist refugees, stressing that their vulnerability only increased with the pandemic.

The agency needs some 323 million US dollars to assist refugees in the East Africa region alone over the next six months.

It worries that reducing food rations further would force refugees to move within host communities or even cross borders as they become more desperate to meet their basic needs.


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World Food Program could cut food rations to Somalia.

This would deal a heavy blow to vulnerable people in Somalia who are just emerging from similar cuts to their daily food supply. Because of lack of money, the WFP says it was forced to cut food rations by 50% for 1.3 million Somalis last month.

The United Nations estimates 5.9 million people, half of the country’s population, need humanitarian aid. Currently, the WFP supplies food to 1.3 million of the most vulnerable. Agency spokesman, Tomson Phiri describes those in need as the “poorest of the poor.”

“These are people who live from meal to meal and the kind of assistance that you provide is just enough for them to survive. And, when we cut it by half, we are talking of a basic meal. This is not a three-course meal. This is not a five-course meal. This is not a seven-course meal. No. It is just the basics,” Phiri said.

Somalia hasn’t been able to feed itself because of man-made factors such as ongoing conflict and others, including a desert locust infestation, and the economic impacts of COVID-19, drought and flooding.

Phiri said funding shortages are putting vital nutrition programs at risk. As a consequence, he said malnutrition rates are rising, undermining previous gains made in reducing the number of children suffering from it.

“Without these programs, you are talking of up to 840,000 children who are expected to suffer from moderate acute malnutrition, 143,000 from severe acute malnutrition, and 51,000 are at risk of dying,” Phiri said.

The WFP says it needs $172 million to continue Somalia operations at current levels for the next six months.


In many ways the issue is not donor fatigue but rather donors have been maxed out.

Even the Trump administration, despite threats to cut funding, has slightly increased its financial support for the WFP. But with so many crises going on the world – potential famine in Yemen and the Horn of Africa, new refugee flows from Myanmar and Venezuela, disease outbreaks in Yemen and Bangladesh, rebuilding efforts in Iraq and Syria – there is only so much donors are able to address. But while funding needs keep increasing, many of the main donors that groups like the WFP rely on have hit their cap for what they are willing to give. Thus, while funds keep coming in, the shortfall between what is available and what is needed continues to grow.

There is no easy fix for these issues, but it does highlight the need to rethink how refugees are hosted. The lack of the ability to work in many countries makes refugees reliant completely on aid, a situation that is becoming increasingly unsustainable. Likewise the lack of political will to address the root causes causing people to flee their homes means there is little chance that things will improve. New ideas are needed to help both refugees and their host communities to cope, a realization that will hopefully be on the minds of delegates negotiating the upcoming Global Compact on Migration later this year.


Database of Press Releases related to Africa – APO-Source

WFP FORCED TO REDUCE FOOD RATIONS TO REFUGEES IN KENYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 14, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Around half a million refugees, mainly from Somalia and South Sudan, living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in remote areas in northern Kenya, will receive reduced rations from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as a result of insufficient funding.

The ration cut of 50 percent, starting tomorrow, 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 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 mid-November, 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. Immediate, additional contributions would allow WFP to purchase food that is available in the region, which would reduce the impact of these dramatic cuts on the vulnerable refugee population. In 2014, international donors have contributed US$68.8 million to support food assistance for refugees in Kenya.

WFP also provides specialised fortified foods to young children, as well as to pregnant women and nursing mothers, to stave off malnutrition. In addition, primary and pre-primary schoolchildren receive porridge, which helps them concentrate on their classes and acts as an incentive to their families to send them to school. So far, these activities are not expected to be affected by the cuts.


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NAIROBI—The COVID-19 pandemic arrived relatively late to Africa, but the early responses from some African countries have been chaotic and violent, possibly helping to spread the disease.

About 23,000 people fled South Africa on the eve of its lockdown, rushing the border into neighboring Mozambique on March 27. In Kenya, among a number of other countries on the continent, security forces have beaten, whipped, humiliated, and even killed civilians, including a 13-year-old boy , in an attempt to enforce curfews, bans on movement, and lockdowns. Similar pictures have emerged from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, with armed, uniformed men lining up people and shoving them onto the beds of police pickup trucks or encircling groups of people sitting on the ground.

“When it comes to the arrests of those ‘violating’ regulations not deliberately, we see them packed like sardines in police trucks. This is sure [a] breeding ground for the spreading of the virus,” said Jestina Mukoko, the national director for the Zimbabwe Peace Project. “The police are also being heavy-handed with citizens—we have seen some citizens being assaulted. We are also worried that the police are at risk of catching the virus because we do not see them in protective clothing. We wish the police would issue warnings and avoid having too many people in small spaces.”

Many critics say the lockdowns and nighttime curfews recently put in place across Africa the past weeks have prompted unrest and disarray that may only help spread the disease, including mass cross-border migration, state-sponsored violence, and economic strife. Across Africa, borders and airspaces have mostly closed, and even though they are treated as an exception, humanitarian agencies are concerned they might not be able to move relief goods in time, and food cuts could also cause people to move.

[Mapping the Coronavirus Outbreak: Get daily updates on the pandemic and learn how it’s affecting countries around the world.]

“African governments appear to have adopted the lockdown policy without either consultation with the affected people (I can see no cases in which they have done this) or analysis of its likely impacts on the trajectory of infections and the livelihoods of people,” said Alex de Waal, the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University.

“Everyone is still trying to figure out what the least harmful approach would be,” said Emma Naylor-Ngugi, CARE USA’s regional director for East, Central, and Southern Africa.

The continent has been late to catch the virus, with the second case in Africa recorded in Algeria only at the end of February . Currently the only model available to governments in this part of the world is restricting movement, but this has already backfired spectacularly.

As of March 31, Africa had nearly 5,300 coronavirus cases, a small number for a big continent, but implementing testing has been slow, making it is possible that the virus has spread further. After weeks of precious few samples taken, significant shipments of tests and supplies donated by the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma are being distributed across Africa now. It is expected that with increased testing, numbers will rise (though the quality of the tests is already being called into question ).

As test positives are growing, restrictions like lockdowns and dusk-to-dawn curfews are being swiftly put into place. The mass movement, brutality, and overall chaos unleashed in countries around the continent already as a result of these policies suggest that such measures can be, at best, counterproductive. That was especially true when thousands of Mozambican miners and farmers rushed over the border after South Africa announced a nationwide, military-patrolled lockdown on March 23 .

“I’m concerned that migration and mobility are not being considered in South Africa’s response to COVID-19. There has been no coordinated response at the Southern African Development Community level, which, for a region of such high mobility, is very worrying,” said Jo Vearey, the director of the African Centre for Migration & Society at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

It is not possible to quantify how many thousands—or hundreds of thousands—of Mozambicans work as miners, farmers, or informally in small businesses, living hand to mouth without contracts in neighboring South Africa. South Africa has the second-biggest economy on the continent, while Mozambique ranked 180th out of 189 nations on the United Nations Human Development Index. Many of the Mozambicans in South Africa work in Gauteng province, in the center of the country, living in townships on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Johannesburg.

Victor Cossa, a Mozambican miner who works in South Africa and is the president of the Association of Mozambican Miners and Farmer Workers in South Africa, estimated that about 35 percent of the 18,000 miners he represents left South Africa. He told Foreign Policy that when South Africa announced its lockdown, those in the country living in close quarters in hostels sharing a kitchen or on temporary permits decided to leave. People worried about being able to properly quarantine, that their yearly work permits might expire, and that they wouldn’t be able to make money to eat. They did not want to risk being shut in doors, potentially at the mercy of police raids, or unable to access public health care if they got sick, he said.

Mozambicans working in South Africa have to return home once a year to renew their work papers. The South African government has said it will not prosecute people whose papers expire during the three-week lockdown, but Cossa said that information was received after many had left. He also said that given the living conditions and concern about having money to eat, most would have gone home anyway.

Africa Is Bracing for a Head-On Collision With Coronavirus

As the pandemic reaches the continent, countries from Morocco to Malawi are facing a health crisis and an economic shock.


Food ration cuts are becoming the norm as aid Agencies struggle to keep up

Facing a massive funding shortfall, the World Food Program in January cut rations for Congolese refugees in Rwanda by 25%. Protests against those cuts turned deadly on February 27th when Rwandan police fired into a crowd, killing 11 refugees.

This incident was yet the latest example of an exacerbating crisis in Central Africa where several countries are struggling under the weight of refugees from DRC, Burundi and South Sudan. Making matters worse, these forgotten crises suffer from a severe lack of international funding, recently leading to aid agencies cutting food aid to the refugees once again. The situation now facing both refugees and their host countries is dire, fueling further instability in a reminder of why proper funding, programming and attention is needed for refugees around the world.

Africa currently hosts an estimated 18 million refugees and displaced peoples, roughly 26 percent of all refugees in the world. The situation has gotten worse in recent years as conflicts in Yemen, South Sudan, Burundi, the DRC, the Central African Republic and Nigeria have sent new millions across borders. African nations are used to hosting refugees, but with so many simultaneous conflicts, many countries are starting to buckle under the strain.

Making matters worse, international funding to help countries cope is falling far behind what is needed. In 2017, this resulted in food ration cuts in several different refugee situations. For example in August 2017, the World Food Programme was forced to reduce daily rations for refugees hosted in Tanzania by almost 40 percent. In October, the WFP cut rations for refugees in Kenya by 30 percent, just six months after full rations were reinstated. Food rations in Uganda for the estimated 2 million refugees, mainly from South Sudan, were in constant flux, being cut in half at one point due to funding woes.

Yet even as countries and aid agencies struggle to provide basic nutrition, more refugees come. Renewed conflict in the DRC’s Ituri region, as well as continuing political instability in Burundi, has further swamped Rwanda and Uganda. Camps in Kenya and Ethiopia now have new Yemeni refugees to cope with, as well as the Somali refugees who have often called those countries home for decades. Even Tanzania, no stranger to hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees, is finding its hospitality strained.

The ongoing issue of hunger is forcing some refugees to return home, even though the violence they fled has not abated. These returns do not fix the problem, but rather shifts the humanitarian burden to harder to reach places.
In many ways the issue is not donor fatigue but rather donors have been maxed out.

Even the Trump administration, despite threats to cut funding, has slightly increased its financial support for the WFP. But with so many crises going on the world – potential famine in Yemen and the Horn of Africa, new refugee flows from Myanmar and Venezuela, disease outbreaks in Yemen and Bangladesh, rebuilding efforts in Iraq and Syria – there is only so much donors are able to address. But while funding needs keep increasing, many of the main donors that groups like the WFP rely on have hit their cap for what they are willing to give. Thus, while funds keep coming in, the shortfall between what is available and what is needed continues to grow.

There is no easy fix for these issues, but it does highlight the need to rethink how refugees are hosted. The lack of the ability to work in many countries makes refugees reliant completely on aid, a situation that is becoming increasingly unsustainable. Likewise the lack of political will to address the root causes causing people to flee their homes means there is little chance that things will improve. New ideas are needed to help both refugees and their host communities to cope, a realization that will hopefully be on the minds of delegates negotiating the upcoming Global Compact on Migration later this year.


Refugees return home for supplementary diet

Some South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are reportedly sneaking back to South Sudan in search of extra food after the World Food Program cut their monthly food rations.

Last week, WFP announced that it will soon be forced to cut further food ration in the refugee camps unless urgent additional funding is received in time.

More than 2.7 million refugees in East Africa have already been affected by a reduction in food rations and cash transfers, as donors slashed funding due to the impact of coronavirus.

The latest cut was in April 2020 when food rations were reduced by 30 percent.

The countries affected include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan and Djibouti.

Speaking to the Ugandan NTV at the weekend, the refugee desk officer in the Office of Prime Minister said the food shortages are forcing refugees to cross the border back to South Sudan in search of extra food.

Solomon Osakan identifies refugees in Bidi Bidi settlement of Yumbe district and other settlements in West Nile as the illegal returnees.

“We reduced food. So, some of them have their food in their gardens in South Sudan. They are sneaking there to get food,” Osakan confirmed.

According to Michael Nabugere, the Bidi Bidi camp commander, it is up to the refugees to risk sneaking into South Sudan.

He said: “The support they are getting here is not sufficient to sustain them and they have to vote with their feet to choose whether to starve or take a chance with a bullet.”

Each refugee reportedly gets about 17 kilograms of food items for two months.

Bidi Bidi refugee settlement hosts nearly 230,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan.


Refugees in Kenya face rations cut due to funding gap

Dadaab Refugee Camp

Nayrobi

NAIROBI, Kenya

The UN World Food Program (WFP) on Monday announced food ration cuts to over 420,000 refugees living in camps in Northern Kenya due to insufficient funding.

In a statement, the WFP said that the 30 percent food rations cut for the refugees living in the camps will take effect starting this month.

Some 90 percent of the refugees are from neighboring Somalia, with the rest from other East African countries, particularly South Sudan.

Annalisa Conte, the program&rsquos top official in Kenya, said: &ldquoWe are facing a critical shortage of resources which has compelled us to reduce the amount of food given to the refugees only six months after we resumed full rations. WFP urgently needs $28.5 million to adequately cover the food assistance needs for the refugees for the next six months.&rdquo

WFP has called on partners and international donors to step in and assist in garnering the necessary funds to provide food -- cereals, vegetable oil, pulses, and nutrient-enriched flour -- for the refugees.

WFP added that fortified maize flour will no longer be issued to refugees as it is reserved for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, citing the shortage of fortified flour in Kenya as the main reason.

The statement warned that this might lead to more cases of malnutrition.

Conte added: &ldquoCutting rations is a last resort and we hope that it is only a short-term measure as we continue to appeal to the international community to assist. An abrupt halt to food assistance would be devastating for the refugees, most of whom rely fully on WFP for their daily meals.&rdquo


Watch the video: World Food Program Cuts Rations In Uganda (January 2022).