Funding shortage forces WFP to slash rations for refugees

MORE than 200,000 refugees in Tanzania will soon start receiving only half the food rations they need due to a critical funding shortage being experienced by the World Food Programme (WFP) in its food assistance to the people.

In a statement made available to the media on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam, WFP Country Director, Ms Sarah Gordon – Gibson, said the organisation provides monthly in-kind food assistance to people living in refugee camps through food baskets whose funding is now in critical position.

She further said that since 2020, the food assistance was designed to meet the minimum recommended 2,100 kilocalories, but chronic funding shortfalls have forced the organisation to reduce the rations.

“In particular earlier in March this year further reductions were made, dropping the ration from meeting 80 per cent of the food needs to 65 per cent. In the course, it is expected that in June, the ration will go further down to 50 per cent, which could leave thousands of refugees struggling to meet their nutritional needs.

“However, a few contributions have arrived on time, but we are now forced to make the difficult decision to reduce food rations at a time of increased needs. We urgently need US$21 million (49bn/-) to provide food assistance to more than 200,000 refugees for the next six months and avoid implementing deeper cuts as hunger bites in refugee camps in Tanzania.

“WFP is deeply concerned that drastic cuts will force refugees into further vulnerabilities. We urge the international community, governments, donors, and the private sector to step up and respond to this crisis to ensure vulnerable people meet their basic food and nutrition needs.”

Tanzania hosts more than 200,000 refugees who rely on the WFP assistance, where 70 per cent of them are from Burundi and the remaining 30 per cent come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

To complicate the situation, the country has recently witnessed a surge in new arrivals, fleeing the unrest in the North Kivu region. Increased food prices further exacerbating their fate, implying needs far outstripping available resources.

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