Refugee rations cut as cash runs out

The WFP is bracing for malnutrition and disease after cutting rations due to funding shortfalls. Pictured, Burundian refugees in the Lake Tanganyika stadium in Kigoma, Tanzania in 2015. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says they have cut food rations for 320,000 refugees in northwestern Tanzania due to funding shortfalls.

“Without an immediate response from donors, further ration cuts will be necessary as food stocks are simply running out,” says WFP Tanzania Country Representative Michael Dunford.

Due to the funding shortages, all five commodities provided to refugees (maize meal, pulses, Super Cereal, vegetable oil and salt) were reduced for the August distribution, reaching only 62 percent of the 2,100 required kilocalories which is the recommended daily calorie intake.

Cutting the intake of kilocalories and nutritional support can lead to acute malnutrition and increased vulnerability to disease.

The WFP says ‘urgently requires’ $23.6 million USD (53 billion TSH) to return to the regular provision schedule for the rest of 2017.

In addition to the five food items, WFP also provides hot meals for refugees upon arrival, supplemental rations for pregnant and nursing women and food assistance to hospital in-patients and people living with HIV/AIDS.

The hot meal programmes are not affected by these ration reductions.

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