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WFP, UNHCR Issue Emergency Plea for $266 Million Food Aid for East Africa

March 8 , 2021 (EIRNS)—The World Food Program and the United Nations Human Rights Commission issued a joint appeal for $266 million on March 2, to reinstate full rations to over 3 million refugees in 11 countries of Eastern Africa. Save for Burundi and Sudan, the WFP has been forced to cut rations—sometimes as much as 60%—because of a lack of funds.

“We’ve never had such a terrible funding situation for refugees,” said Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UNHCR’s Regional Bureau Director Bureau for the East, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes.

“We have a $266 million shortfall for the next six months for refugees’ minimum needs. We are deeply concerned that if cuts continue, they will be faced with a very difficult decision: Stay in the camps where food and nutrition security is deteriorating, or consider risking going back when it is unsafe.”

As the dire situation is described in the release:

“In the 11 countries covered by UNHCR’s Bureau for the East and Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes, 72% of 4.7 million refugees face food cuts on top of funding shortfalls already for UNHCR’s non-food assistance and support. Funding shortfalls have forced WFP to slash its monthly assistance for refugees by up to 60% in Rwanda, 40% in Uganda and Kenya [the largest, with over 1.7 million people combined], 30% in South Sudan, 23% in Djibouti and 16% in Ethiopia.”

While the WFP is a UN program, its funds do not come from the general UN budget pool, and it survives on an independent budget. The two biggest contributors for 2021 are the U.S. and Germany, at $388 million and $304 million respectively (yearly totals of $3.6 billion and 1.1 billion in 2020), followed by several other Western European countries, the World Bank and Russia, for a total of 36. China, which gave $11 million in 2020, is not listed among the 2021 donors.

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