Africa: lack of funding, WFP must ration aid to refugees


As humanitarian needs multiply around the world and funding struggles to keep up, the UN agency expects “imminent” to “further reductions in food rations for refugees”. The dire warning comes as the WFP has already been forced to drastically cut refugee rations across its operations.

“As world hunger far outstrips the resources available to feed all the families who desperately need WFP assistance, we are being forced to make the heartbreaking decision to reduce food rations for the refugees who depend on us for their survival,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said in a statement.

For three-quarters of refugees in East Africa, rations cut in half

The WFP had to reduce the rations of three quarters of the refugees supported by the UN agency in East Africa by up to 50%. Those most affected by this drastic drop in aid are located in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda.

In West Africa, aid disruption is imminent, the WFP said. Severe funding constraints in West Africa, where hunger has reached a decade high, have forced the WFP to drastically reduce rations for refugees living in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania, in Niger and Chad.

In southern Africa, the UN agency assists an average of 500,000 refugees each year. This year, financial resources remain insufficient to meet the very basic needs of refugee households and imminent disruptions are expected in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Across the continent, WFP is forced to prioritize its assistance to ensure that life-saving food reaches the most vulnerable families first. These “painful” decisions very often leave refugees without support at a time when food aid is the difference between life and death.

WFP needs $600 million for its operations in sub-Saharan Africa

According to the latest figures published by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 67% of refugees and asylum seekers came from countries experiencing a food crisis in 2021. This situation, combined with devastating conflicts and extreme climatic phenomena, hits refugees hard.

For David Beasley, these decisions are heartbreaking: “Refugees depend on us for their survival,” he said. “But without urgent new funds to support refugees, many people facing starvation will be forced to pay with their lives,” insisted the WFP chief.

Indeed, the war in Ukraine has aggravated the global crisis by creating 6 million additional refugees, but also by driving up the prices of basic products, in particular cereals.

It should be noted that in 2021, the WFP assisted nearly 10 million refugees worldwide.

To support refugee operations in sub-Saharan Africa over the next six months, the World Food Program needs $600 million. These are $411 million for East Africa, $113 million for Southern Africa and over $76 million for refugees in West Africa.

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