The United Nations World Food Programme has announced plans to cut food rations for 440,000 refugees in Kenya citing severe funding shortfalls.
In a statement to newsrooms, the world’s largest humanitarian agency warned that it may be forced to halt the aid altogether by the end of the year if it doesn’t get new resources soon.
According to WFP Kenya Country Director Lauren Landis, the agency needs Sh4.5 billion to restore full rations to refugees in Dadaab, Kakuma and Kalobeyei settlement for the next six months.
“Cutting food assistance to already highly vulnerable families is a heart-breaking decision to have to make – more so with a national drought emergency declared by the government recently. Low funding levels have left WFP no choice – this is the absolute last resort,” said Landis.
“WFP appreciates that presently, there are extraordinary needs around the world, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and conflicts. However, refugees in Kenya are in immediate need of assistance and stability even as Kenya and the international community continue to engage in exploring sustainable solutions for this population.”
Landis noted that the refugees will from this month survive on 52 per cent of the full ration until December when the aid will be halted if no new resources are availed.
WFP has been facing resource challenges since 2018. In October 2020, the agency was forced to cut rations from 80 to 60 per cent.
The revelations come at a time the government is struggling to manage hunger in the North-Eastern region.
A fortnight ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the ongoing drought in the region a national disaster.
As a result, he has instructed the National Treasury and the Ministry of Interior to spearhead government efforts to assist affected households with water and relief food as well as livestock uptake.