KIGALI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed a US$6.5 million contribution from the United States of America in support of Congolese and Burundian refugees in Rwanda. This contribution restores full food rations to these refugees and brings the total food and nutrition assistance provided by USAID/Food for Peace in Rwanda to US$10 million this year.
The contribution comes at a critical time when WFP’s resources are being stretched to respond to the food needs of an increasing number of camp-based refugees.
“We are incredibly thankful for the continuous support we receive from the American people and specifically for this critical contribution,” said Jean-Pierre de Margerie, WFP Rwanda Representative and Country Director. “Thanks to this generous and timely grant, we will now be able to fully re-instate rations for refugees that we support.”
Funding shortages had forced WFP to trim assistance to 90 percent in November and December 2017. Persistent funding challenges saw a further reduction of ration sizes to 75 percent in January 2018. A survey conducted in February 2018 showed a deterioration of food security among refugees due to ration reductions, as families with poor and borderline food consumption soared to 20.4 percent – up from 10 percent before reductions.
However, refugees identified as particularly vulnerable in all camps continued to receive full rations of supplementary feeding from WFP through targeted safety net activities. Those who continued to benefit from full nutrition assistance included pregnant and nursing mothers, children under two years-old and malnourished children under five years-old, as well as school children, people living with HIV and tuberculosis patients under treatment.
The USAID funding will empower WFP to buy locally produced maize grain, beans and fortified blended foods for malnourished children, as well as provide cash-based transfers. WFP will distribute in-kind monthly rations to Burundian camp-based refugees and provide monthly cash-based transfers to refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which they can use to purchase food from local markets. It will enable WFP to meet the immediate needs of 75,000 Congolese and 55,000 Burundian refugees hosted in six camps in Rwanda over the coming months. Refugees in Rwanda remain highly dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs as access to land and income-generating opportunities remain limited.
The United States is the largest donor to WFP humanitarian and development programmes in Rwanda, contributing US$16 million in 2017.
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