by PHYLLIS BIRORI
KIGALI – CASH-strapped humanitarian organisations have reduced food rations to refugees in Rwanda amid insufficient support by donors.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed the funding shortages forced the latter to trim assistance to 90 percent in November and December.
Funding gaps have widened and with immediate effect, WFP has reduced the ration sizes even further to 75 percent. Rations consist mainly maize,
beans, vegetable oil and salt.
WFP argues it it does not receive any new funds, deeper reductions to cash and food would be effected in coming months.
“Now more than ever is the time to find innovative and long-term solutions for refugees in Rwanda,” said UNHCR representative, Ahmed Baba Fall.
“Donors have also expressed the need for a change in practice to ensure that limited funding is targeting the needs of refugees more appropriately.”
WFP relies entirely on voluntary contributions for its humanitarian and development programmes.
Some US$11 million (R137 million) is needed to restore full support for the next six months.
As of December 2017, UNHCR had secured only 19 percent of its total funding needs, amounting to US$ 20,3 million out of US$ 104,5 million.
Funds are also needed to support the voluntary repatriation of Rwandan returnees, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Rwanda hosts refugees from Burundi and DRC as well as other nationalities.
– CAJ News