The World Food Programme says it’s been forced to cut rations to 420,000 refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in northern Kenya because of insufficient funding.
The United Nations food relief agency said Monday that those refugees will receive 70 percent of their current food allotment because of shortages. The agency provides cooking oil, flour and other food products as well as mobile cash transfers so people can buy fresh food from local market vendors.
Starting this month, WFP will provide nutrient-fortified flour to women who are pregnant or nursing mothers, but it will not be available to other refugee populations. The cash transfers will remain the same as the agency works to secure USD$28.5 million in funding it says is needed to return rations back to normal levels. Programs to feed young students at school will continue for the time being.
“Cutting 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,” said Annalisa Conte, the WFP Representative and Country Director, in a statement. “An abrupt halt to food assistance would be devastating for the refugees, most of whom rely fully on WFP for their daily meals.”
Officials in Kenya declared a drought emergency earlier this year, as the Horn of Africa continues to deal with parched conditions. A food security alert issued Friday by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network forecast another season of below-average rainfall, the fourth consecutive one.
“This has already contributed to large food assistance needs in the region and extreme levels of acute food insecurity in Somalia and Ethiopia,” the FEWS report said. “Another season of poor rainfall performance in the eastern Horn of Africa will limit pasture regeneration and water availability, reduce rainfed crop harvests, and exacerbate already high levels of acute food insecurity.”
Image: CEMA Kenya