The World Food Program (WFP) on Friday appealed for 4.46 billion shillings (about 40.4 million U.S. dollars) to continue providing food and nutrition assistance to 440,000 refugees in Kenya over the next six months.
“WFP is urgently seeking 40.4 million dollars to restore full food rations to refugees in Dadaab, Kakuma and Kalobeyei settlements over the next six months,” the WFP said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
It said food rations for the refugees will be cut further due to severe funding shortfalls, warning that it may have to halt assistance altogether by the end of the year if new resources are not available imminently.
The WFP said 23.9 million dollars out of the 40.4 million dollars would go directly to the refugees in the form of cash transfers and 14.3 million dollars would be spent on food predominantly purchased in Kenya.
According to the WFP, 1.2 million dollars would provide children under five and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers with specialized foods for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition, and the remaining 1 million dollars would feed school children across the camps.
Refugees will have to make do with only 52 percent of a full ration from October, the WFP said.
“This reduction will only enable WFP to stretch the remaining food and cash until December 2021, after which food assistance to all refugees will stop completely if further funds are not received,” it said.
WFP Kenya country director Lauren Landis said cutting food assistance to already highly vulnerable families is a heart-breaking decision to have to make, more so with a national drought emergency declared by Kenya recently.
“Low funding levels have left WFP no choice – this is the absolute last resort,” she said, noting that presently, there are extraordinary needs around the world, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and conflicts.
The WFP said it is working with Kenya and other partners to provide self-reliance opportunities for refugees, such as establishing kitchen gardens to grow fresh foods, to either supplement rations or sell to generate income.