WFP today welcomed a €5 million contribution from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) that has staved off new cuts in rations for 273,000 refugees in Tanzanian camps.
Chronic funding shortages have already resulted in a long-lasting, 20 per cent average reduction of rations for the beneficiaries, one of the largest concentrations of refugees in Africa. Without the ECHO contribution, more drastic cuts would have been necessary.
“We are extremely grateful for this generous donation from ECHO, the largest we have received this year,” said Patrick Buckley, WFP Country Director for Tanzania.
“If these funds were not available, we wouldn’t have been able to continue feeding Burundian and Congolese refugees in Tanzania, who are some of the most vulnerable people on the continent,” he said.
“But we’re still urgently in need of additional funds now to enable us to maintain a consistent supply of food for the refugees beyond mid-January,” Buckley added. “We hope that other donors will be able to step in as ECHO has.”
Fleeing to Tanzania
WFP said it requires US$10.1 million to ensure sufficient food commodities for the refugee population until April 2008.
Tanzania is currently hosting one of the two largest populations of refugees in all of Africa, rivalling that of Chad. They live in 8 camps in the northwest of the country.
The vast majority have fled instability and violence in neighbouring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Chronic fund shortage
WFP food rations are essential because the refugees have hardly any means of earning money. A chronic shortage of funds has forced WFP to reduce rations to 1,745 kilocalories a day, just 83 per cent of the widely accepted minimum daily energy requirement of 2,100 kilocalories.
The ECHO donation allows WFP food stocks to extend until mid-January, based on a full ration distribution.
Over the past two years, the European Commission has contributed more than US$22 million to WFP’s refugee assistance programme in Tanzania, making it the second-largest donor to the operation.
As well as assisting refugees, WFP’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation in Tanzania reaches more than 10,000 vulnerable people in surrounding host communities, including school meals for children and assistance for HIV-affected households.