The World Food Programme has set aside 263.48 metric tonnes of food worth $475,126 (about Rwf312 million) for Rwandans evicted from Tanzania.
More than 7,000 people have so far been evicted from different districts in Tanzania’s Kagera region.
The UN agency started to supply the food on Saturday to recipients in different camps in the Eastern Province.
The food aid that includes maize flour, beans, cooking oil, and salt would run for the next three months.
“WFP has intervened to support the Government of Rwanda in meeting the food and nutrition needs of those expelled from Tanzania as it is the prime objective of WFP to save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies,” Jean Pierre de-Margerie, the WFP country director, said.
WFP, he said, will continue strengthening the working relationship with the government to ensure food security and sustainability in the country.
Most of the evictees are children and mothers.
According the WFP, every person is entitled to 12.3 kilogrammes of maize flour per month, with 3.6 kilogrammes of beans, 0.9 grammes of cooking oil and 0.15 grammes of salt.
But families take different rations depending on the size of households.
At the Rukara camp in Kayonza, women holding their babies lined up to receive their rations.
Claver Iyamuremye, one of the beneficiaries, said ever since he was separated from his family he is yet to know the fate of his seven children and their mother. He had lived in Karagwe since 1961.
He recalled that he was intercepted while going to the market and bundled into a waiting truck to Rwanda.
“I had gone to sell some cows in the market. I now can’t tell whether my family is still in Tanzania or were also forced out,” Iyamuremye said.
Missing beloved families
Iyamuremye had more than 200 head of cattle; he lost all to Tanzanian authorities, he said.
“I wish I was with my family. I am lining up for the food but I don’t feel like I will enjoy it because every minute I am thinking about my children and wife,” he said.
In the camp, every person has their own sad story to tell.
Rukara camp has more than 569 families with more than 1,300 people. More evictees are still expected arrive soon.
The evictees said they were caught unawares and have lost all their properties.
Kiyanzi camp, located in Kirehe District, is the biggest, with more than 2,580 evictees.
Gonzague Karagire, the camp manager said government is trying to provide all the basic needs in the camp.
He said they are providing airtime to those who want to inquire about the whereabouts of their missing relatives.
“We are doing whatever possible to make them comfortable,” he said.
Within the camp there is a dispensary to provide medical assistance to the sick and those with complicated cases are referred to Kirehe Hospital.
Mary Murekatete is another evictee who was separated from her husband.
She is afraid that her husband could have been murdered.
She said she tried to call his phone but it was was switched off.
“My husband was imprisoned the day we were evicted. They burnt our houses and took away our over 200 cattle,” the frustrated mother of three said.