The food crisis in Africa is worsening; nearly 800,000 refugees on the continent are seeing cuts in their food rations. A lack of global aid funding is causing even further malnutrition, potential starvation, stunted growth and anemia, particularly in child refugees.
These cuts in rations are up to 60 percent of what the refugees were previously being given. In order to restore full rations, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) needs $186 million by the end of the year, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) needs another $39 million to provide nutritional support to the refugees.
Both of these organizations are working tirelessly to fix this food crisis. The leaders of the two met in order to make an urgent appeal to governments to provide aid. Ertharin Cousin, executive director of WFP, said, “We are appealing to donor governments to help all refugees – half of whom are children – have enough food to be healthy and to build their own futures.”
Throughout Africa, 2.4 million refugees in 22 different countries rely on regular food aid from WFP, and already one third of them have experienced reductions to their rations. UNHCR chief António Guterres said, “It is unacceptable in today’s world of plenty for refugees to face chronic hunger.”
The cuts have affected the refugees of Chad most harshly. The 300,000 refugees, mainly from Sudan’s Darfur region and the Central African Republic, have experienced the most severe cuts at about 60 percent.
Many refugees are being provided with 850 calories per day; when compared with the 2,100 calories recommended for adults to be healthy, they are receiving about one third of their expected intake.
The biggest concern about the reductions in rations is that refugees are already some of the most vulnerable groups of people. They have experienced trauma and most likely are undernourished to begin with. Adding these cuts and the potential effects of them could cause irreversible damage to the population.
– Hannah Cleveland