UN World Food Programme

German Donation Provides Hope For 54,000 Congolese Refugees

Congolese refugees at Giheme camp (Copyright: WFP/John Paul Sesonga)

A donation from the Federal Republic of Germany has enabled WFP to purchase vital food commodities for Congolese refugees in three camps in Rwanda. The camps' children are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition.

“If we didn’t  get food from WFP, we would have died of hunger”, says  Colette Nyiramana, a 49 year old mother of five in Gihembe refugee camp in northern  Rwanda. “We couldn’t have survived in refugee camps here in Rwanda without this help”.

It was here in Giheme that a German donation of €500,000 was handed over to the World Food Programme in February 2012 by the German ambassador to Rwanda, Elmar Timpe. The funds will be used to purchase maize, beans and fortified blended food (Super Cereal) for the residents of three refugee camps: Gihembe, Kiziba and Nyabiheke. 

More than a decade
“Our contribution is an expression of the commitment of the German people and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to help people around the world who are in need of humanitarian assistance because of conflict”, said Ambassador Timpe.

WFP provides food assistance to some 54,000 Congolese refugees, most of whom have been living in Rwanda for more than 10 years because of continuing political unrest back home in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“The donation will enable WFP to maintain full food rations to refugees, including providing fortified food for malnourished children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and people living with HIV/AIDS,” said Abdoulaye Balde, WFP Representative and Country Director. 

Food insecure
A nutrition survey conducted in April 2011 by WFP and UNHCR shows that a third of the households in refugee camps are food insecure, meaning that they struggle to get enough food to carry on their daily lives. More than 30 percent of the refugee children under the age of five are chronically malnourished and thirteen percent of them are underweight.

In 2012, WFP aims to provide food assistance to some 424,000 beneficiaries. These include the 54,000 Congoleses refugees; 20,000 Rwandan returnees, mainly from the DRC; and 350,000 school children in 300 primary schools around the country.