WFP to reduce food rations by half for refugees as funding decreases in Burundi
BUJUMBURA - More than 56,000 Congolese refugees will soon receive only half the food rations they need, due to a dwindling of funding for food needs in five camps in Burundi. The refugees, most of them fleeing conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), require food assistance to nourish their families.
On April 1, 2023, WFP will be forced to reduce rations in a country experiencing humanitarian needs compounded by high levels of food insecurity, poverty and the continued influx of refugees fleeing the conflict. The ration cut will worsen food insecurity and the nutritional status of refugees and could further exacerbate tensions between host and refugee communities around the camps and transit centres.
WFP provides both in-kind food assistance and cash to buy food in local markets. Until now, each person has been receiving cash and/or food to the equivalent of US$0.55 per day, which is designed to cover a full food ration, that is 2,100 kilocalories required to meet basic food and nutrition needs. This sum will be halved.
“While we appreciate the support received so far, we urgently need US$7.1million to feed the 56,000 refugees with full rations for the next 6 months. This is critical to meet the nutritional needs of the households in camps and transit centres in Burundi. The refugees are extremely vulnerable with limited access to land or work outside the camps and are exclusively dependent on humanitarian assistance for their survival,” said Housainou Taal, the WFP Representative and Country Director in Burundi.
In 2022, with the generous support of donors and in cooperation with humanitarian and development partners, WFP reached almost 1 million food-insecure people across Burundi. Of these, 52 percent were women and 12 percent were people with disabilities. WFP also provided 11,202 tons of food and over US$6 million in cash-based transfers.
Beneficiaries included 55,577 refugees hosted in five camps, Burundian returnees from neighbouring countries, people affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19, and those affected by climatic shocks and displaced by the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika. Other beneficiaries included schoolchildren in food-insecure areas as well as moderately malnourished pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls and children aged 6-59 months.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.