Amid dwindling supplies and funding, the United Nations World Food Program, which supplies emergency rations to roughly 80 million people in 75 countries, has announced that it will cut aid to Kenyan refugees by 30 percent.
This is the second time in six months that the WFP has had to reduce its food rations to refugees in Kenya, an estimated population of half a million people.
“Starting on Monday, refugees in the camps — most of whom come from Somalia and South Sudan — will receive 30 percent less food than usual,” the organization announced. “WFP expects that the ration cut will need to continue at least through September unless new funds become available very quickly.”
The program is struggling to raise $39.4 million to cover shortages through January next year, of which $12.4 million is “urgently required” to avoid a critical food gap between this August and September.
“We are very worried about how this cut may affect the people who rely on our assistance,” said Thomas Hansson, WFP’s acting country director for Kenya. “But our food stocks are running out, and reducing the size of rations is the only way to stretch our supplies to last longer. We hope that this is only a temporary measure and we continue to appeal to the international community to assist.”
In December, the WFP was forced to suspend its aid to Syria, but later resumed the program after an emergency funding appeal.
Similarly, the WFP stated that “if there is an immediate response from donors, WFP would be able to buy food available in [Kenya] and quickly transport it to the camps to reduce the impact of the cuts on refugees.”