Funding shortage forces cuts in food provisions to 23,500 refugees in Malawi

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-1-20 21:09:11

The world's largest humanitarian agency, World Food Program (WFP), has reduced provisions of some food stuffs to 23,500 refugees living at Dzaleka Camp in Malawi due to inadequate funding.

A joint statement released by the agency, UNDP and UNCHR on Tuesday said the suspension of some food stuffs has been going on for the past six months and the refugees have been only receiving three of the five planned foods.

The statement says even the pulse, vegetable oil and maize are being provided at half the planned amount.

The UN agencies have warned that the situation could have severe consequences for the displaced people, most of whom are women and children.

"WFP requires 2 million US dollars to resume provision of full food rations for the next 12 months," says the statement, adding stocks of a special nutritious food (Super Cereal Plus) for young children were depleted last September.

The statement says rations cut means that refugees are only receiving 40 percent of the recommended minimum daily kilocalories, compromising long-standing efforts to achieve food security in Dzaleka Camp.

The UN agencies further warn that without additional funding, maize stocks, even at half rations, are set to run out in mid-February while stocks of vegetable oil, pulse and Super Cereal are likely to be depleted by May.

"The situation is becoming dire," the statement said quoting UNCHR Representative for Malawi, Monique Ekoko. "Many of the most vulnerable, including children, the chronically ill, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and the elderly are at the blink of malnutrition."

The agencies observe that when rations are reduced, protection concerns increase in the camp.

According to the statement, lack of food was one of the main drivers of sexual and gender-based violence among the refugees.

WFP Representative for Malawi, Coco Uchiyama has made an urgent appeal for funding to restore adequate food assistance and support for a safe environment in refugee camps, especially for women and girls.

The Malawi government has pledged to continue to meet its international obligations towards refugees but the government has stressed the need for continued support from WFP and UNCHR.

"We are appealing to the international community to provide the necessary funding so that refugee families in Malawi do not go to bed hungry," said Principal Secretary for Home Affairs Ministry and Commissioner for Refugees in Malawi.

Malawi, a sub-Saharan developing country with a population of around 16 million is currently facing challenges of food insecurity following devastating floods and drought that hit the country in 2015 and left 2.8 million people in dire need of food assistance.

The country hosts 23,500 refugees and asylum seekers mostly from the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions.

Posted in: Food

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