Thursday, October 6, 2016

WFP saves refugees rations in Tanzania

THE United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has managed, in a short term, to avoid cutting rations destined for refugees in Tanzania, thanks to a £1 million (more than 2.6bn/-) contribution from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), WFP was about to cut rations in October for nearly a quarter of a million refugees, given its lack of funds for its refugee operations in Tanzania. But now for the time being these operations can continue as normal. “The UK joins the UN and the international community in supporting the outstanding generosity of the government and the people of Tanzania in welcoming those who are seeking safety from the violence in Burundi and the Great Lakes,” said DFID Head of Cooperation, Vel  Gnanendran. According to him, UK had provided an immediate, additional contribution of £1 million to support WFP in providing food to the increasing number of refugees arriving in Tanzania. This brings the total contribution to WFP to £6.5 million since the crisis began. WFP distributes life-saving food to some 236,000 refugees living in three camps in Kigoma Region in north-west Tanzania. Refugees are dependent on this assistance, which includes maize meal, pulses, vegetable oil, salt and a nutrient-rich porridge blend. “WFP is very grateful to DFID for their contribution at this critical period,” said Michael Dunford, WFP Tanzania Country Representative, adding: “While additional funds are still urgently needed to meet refugees’ needs through the end of the year, this significant contribution is greatly appreciated.” In addition to meeting the daily calorific requirements for refugees, WFP provides hot meals at transit and reception centres and camp health care facilities. In the refugee camps, WFP also assists pregnant and nursing women, as well as moderately malnourished children under the age of five, with micro nutrient powders or a fortified porridge blend.  Every day, hundreds of Burundian refugees arrive at the Tanzanian border amid continued unrest in their homeland. WFP can only conduct its work thanks to donor support. But with the increasing influx of refugees, it is experiencing a critical shortfall in funding. “Unless more contributions are forthcoming, the food and nutrition security of refugees could be severely compromised,” said the WFP official. He said to keep refugee operations running until the end of the year, WFP needs US dollars 7.6 million (15.2bn/-). A total of US dollars 63.6 million (127.2bn/-) is needed until August 2017. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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