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UN agencies seek $26m funding for refugees in Eastern Africa



The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Food Program (WFP),on Tuesday appealed for $266 million funding to cover for the previous budget cuts.

Another to the organisations the cut led to massive food shortages affecting millions in Eastern Africa amid the Coronavirus-pandemic and related restrictions.

“We’ve never had such a terrible funding situation for refugees. We have a US$266 million shortfall for the next six months for refugees’ minimum needs.

“We are deeply concerned that if cuts continue, they will be faced with a very difficult decision: stay in the camps where food and nutrition security is deteriorating or consider risking going back when it is unsafe,“ WFP Regional Director for Eastern Africa Michael Dunford said.’’

The underfunding issues have forced the WFP to cut its monthly assistance for refugees by up to 60 per cent in Rwanda, 40 per cent in Uganda and Kenya, 30 per cent in South Sudan, 23 per cent in Djibouti and 16 per cent in Ethiopia.

For the 11 countries covered by the regional UNHCR Bureau, the situation is not much better than 72 per cent of the total of 4.7 million refugees now facing food cuts on top of other non-food supply shortages.

“The pandemic has been devastating for everyone, but for refugees even more so. Unless more funds are made available, thousands of refugees including children will not have enough to eat,’’ Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the UNHCR’s Regional Bureau director for the East, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes, stressed.

The current 60 per cent cuts are unprecedented, and the agencies have warned that such severe food shortages increase the risks of malnutrition and anemia, stunted child growth and spread of infections. (Sputnik/NAN)


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