The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), yesterday, received a US$680,000 donation from Germany to deliver food to the 54,000 Congolese refugees living in Rwanda.
The refugees to benefit are in three camps located in Karongi, Gicumbi and Gatsibo Districts.
“The donation will enable WFP to restore full food rations to refugees, including providing fortified food for malnourished children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and people living with HIV/AIDS -- the most vulnerable in the refugee camps,” said Abdoulaye Balde, WFP Country Director.
The Congolese refugees have been facing a food shortage that led to the slicing of their monthly ration of maize flour from 11 to seven kilos per person per month.
The UN agency had requested for donor support to cover a critical shortfall of 2,250 metric tonnes of assorted commodities valued at US$3.8 million which was the sum needed to feed 54,000 Congolese refugees until the end of the year.
A nutrition survey conducted in April 2011 by WFP and UNHCR shows that one third of households in the camps were food insecure, meaning that they struggle to get enough food for their healthy survival.
It also further indicates that more than 30 percent of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished while thirteen percent are underweight.
“This donation has come at the right time,” said Balde.
“We thank the German government for this generous contribution, which helps WFP to provide continued support to those who are affected most by the food insecurity in the refugee camps”.
The Director General in charge of Refugees in the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee affairs, Jean Claude Rwahama, welcomed the donation saying that it had come as a great relief to the refugees.
“As the host government, we have been encountering a food shortage to feed the refugees and I think this comes as a solution to the food crisis in the camps. These people are vulnerable and need assistance from any country or well wishers,” he said.
During a recent visit to Kiziba Refugee Camp in Karongi, by the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee affairs, Marcel Gatsinzi, UNHCR WFP officials as well as several government officials, the refugees had expressed the desire to return home instead of starving in the camps.