WFP bemoans poor response to cash appeal amid refugee surge
The World Food Programme has decried the slow response from the international community to its recent cash appeal to feed refugees around the country terming the fate of the refugees as ‘worrying’.
John Paul Sesonga, a communications officer with the WFP in Kigali, said this on Monday on the sidelines of a news conference organised by the UN refugees’ agency to highlight the World Refugees’ Day set for today.
By Monday, only Germany had committed 1.2 million euros for emergency supplies to internally displaced persons and refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of which will go to the World Food Programme to procure food supplies for the refugees in the country.
According to the WFP official, the country needs over $11.9 million to feed 54,000 Congolese refugees harboured in three camps up to April 2013. He also pointed out that due to the worsening situation in the D.R. Congo, more funds are required to feed those fleeing from war.
The UN agency, last week, made an international appeal for funds to feed the ever increasing number of refugees harboured in Rwanda and Uganda as well as those internally displaced in the eastern D.R. Congo.
The WFP is currently facing a combined funding shortfall of about US$46 million over the next six months to feed refugees in both Rwanda and Uganda and those displaced by war inside the D.R. Congo.
“More refugees are fleeing to Rwanda yet we have not yet received any interventions to provide funds to purchase the food,” Sesonga lamented.
He, however, pointed out that Rwanda produces plenty of food underscoring that what the UN agency needs is funds to purchase it.
On the celebration of the refugee day, the UNHCR’s External Relations Officer, Anouck Bronee, said the day would mainly focus on advocating for the refugees unlike the last year that focused on activities within the camps.
She cited some of the challenges facing the refugees including unemployment.
About 105 refugees are either studying or have completed their education at various universities under a scholarship programme provided by the Albert Einstein Germany Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI) that assists refugees around the world.
Latest statistics indicate 37 million people around the globe have been displaced from their homes and live as refugees.
About 67,000 Congolese refugees including those at the Nkamira Transit centre in Rubavu District are harboured in Rwanda.
Contact email: eric.kabeera[at]newtimes.co.rw