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Food Aid Cuts Threaten African Refugees


Somali refugees organize their collected ration of food during a distribution exercise outside a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) centre in Dagahale, one of the several refugee settlements in Dadaab, Garissa County, northeastern Kenya, October 8, 2013.

We welcome the important contributions the United Kingdom and Denmark announced recently for Kenya and urge other countries and entities to make further donations.

A spate of global humanitarian crises has strained the United Nation’s international food aid program, forcing the agency to sharply reduce food rations to half a million refugees sheltered in Kenya.

On November 14, the United Nations World Food Program announced that, as a result of insufficient funding, it would be forced as a last resort to cut in half provisions distributed to men, women and children living in camps around the east African nation. The refugees, many who have fled conflicts in Somalia and South Sudan, will now receive a daily food ration of just over 1,000 calories in cereals, pulses and oil.

The WFP said that because of emergencies it is dealing with simultaneously in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria, the countries surrounding those states, and countries in West Africa struggling with a massive outbreak of the deadly Ebola fever, it does not have the money needed to provide full daily rations for the refugees in Kenya.

The strain is not focused on Kenya alone. Unless more support from donor nations is forthcoming, the WFP may have to cut rations in Ethiopia, where some 600,000 refugees have fled from violence in the region.

The United States is profoundly concerned about funding shortfalls being experienced by humanitarian organizations in many places around the world, but nowhere is this shortfall more dire than it is in Africa. From October 2013 to October 2014, our nation has provided more than $5 billion in humanitarian assistance around the world. For refugees in Kenya during that period, U.S. humanitarian aid totaled over $111 million.

We welcome the important contributions the United Kingdom and Denmark announced recently for Kenya and urge other countries and entities to make further donations as well to address the growing food insecurity for refugees, both in Kenya and worldwide.

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