NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – The World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed for Sh6.3 billion to support more than 435,000 refugees in Kenya between January and June 2021.
The humanitarian agency said the refugees face imminent food shortages unless new funding is secured.
The organization’s Country Director in Kenya, Lauren Landis, pointed out that WFP will need to completely halt all cash transfers starting January and will by March have fully depleted its food stocks.
“WFP is facing a critical shortage of funds to finance food assistance to refugees living in the Daadab and Kakuma camps and in Kalobeyei settlement. We have exhausted all resources and are frankly faced with a life-threatening crisis,” she said.
“We are appealing to our donors to quickly provide new resources to allow us to carry on providing food and cash to the refugees. A disruption of this magnitude to the life-saving refugee operation would be catastrophic,” Landis said.
The funding shortfall has already forced WFP to cut full food rations by more than one-third as of September 2019, compromising refugees’ health and nutrition.
In Daadab and Kakuma camps, WFP provides almost 400,000 refugees with a mix of cash and food, but cash covers about 60 per cent of staple cereals in their food basket.
Landis stated that a sharp reduction or complete stop in assistance could have far-reaching consequences on refugees’ health and nutrition as well as on stability and security in the camps and surrounding communities.
She said that the impending food shortage follows other ration cuts over the past two years that have increased child and maternal malnutrition.
WFP commended Kenya for continuing to host refugees and seeking to meet its obligations under the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), opening up access to local services, providing land and allowing greater integration of refugees with local populations.
The CRRF outlines a commitment of the international community to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the refugees to ease the burden on Kenya.
Landis asked donors around the world that additional support is needed to support the Kenyan government and its goodwill and to not undermine developmental gains.
Most refugee families rely solely on WFP food to survive.