World Bulletin/News Desk
The UN's World Food Program (WFP) announced Friday that it would reduce food rations for residents of Kenya's Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps by 50percent as of Saturday.
WFP Deputy Country Director for Kenya Paul Turnbull said the organization, which relies heavily on donations, was facing a shortage of food.
"Cutting rations is a last resort. 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 for assistance," Turnbull said in statements to the media.
The WFP's regional spokeswoman, Challiss McDonough, said the ration cut would affect over 500,000 refugees living in Kenya.
"As a result of insufficient funding, the WFP has been forced to reduce food rations for over half a million refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in northern Kenya by 50 percent," McDonough told Anadolu Agency.
"The 50-percent cut comes as the WFP is struggling to raise $38million to cover refugee operations in Kenya for the next six months. We need $15.5 million just to address Sudanese and other refugees until the end of January," she said.
McDonough said the ration cuts were expected to continue until the end of January, when the organization was expecting a large contribution from the U.S.
"The [U.S.] contribution will be… used from February; this will cover our needs for about six weeks. But until then, we do not have resources to provide full rations because we might run out of food," she said.
"Though," she added, "donors might recognize the importance of the situation and the seriousness of these needs, so we hope there will be a response before then."
Every month, the WFP distributes about 9,700 metric tons of food, worth approximately $9.9 million, to over 500,000 refugees.
The food is distributed every two weeks. Refugees are provided with a general food ration of cereals, pulses, vegetable oils and salt, which generally provides 2,100 kilocalories per person per day, which, according to WFP, is the recommended minimum energy intake.
"They will receive food rations equivalent to 1,050 kilocalories per day, which is exactly 50percent of the daily requirement," McDonough said.
McDonough added thatthe ration cut would not affect any activities aimed at helping vulnerable women and children, such as school meals or malnutrition treatment and prevention.
The spokeswoman also noted that the Kenyan government had done its part to help refugees, describing Kenya as an important partner to the WFP, the UNHCR and other refugee agencies.
"The government of Kenya has provided funding and food to the WFP on many occasions, though the responsibility for providing for the refugees – that is, half a million people – lies with the international community," she said.
"Kenya has been a very gracious host and they're doing their part, so we're appealing to the international community to do their part as well," added McDonough.
Last Mod: 14 Kasım 2014, 17:37