Today the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a US$5 million contribution from the Government of China to support 420,000 refugees living in camps in northern Kenya.
After more than a year of ration cuts caused by a shortage of funding, new donor contributions from China and other countries have allowed WFP to resume full food rations to refugees from April to July. In Kenya, refugees cannot work outside the refugee camps and with limited sources of income, they are heavily dependent on WFP for food.
“We welcome this critical contribution from China as WFP has struggled to provide adequate food to refugees living in camps in food-insecure northern Kenya due to insufficient funds,” said Annalisa Conte, WFP’s Country Director and Representative for Kenya. “It is important that our donors continue to support this much-needed assistance for the refugees, especially when they are also vulnerable to the effects of the severe drought affecting the country,” she added.
Every month, refugees collect a general food ration from WFP of cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, and a nutrient-enriched flour made from soya and maize. The Chinese contribution has enabled WFP to buy 9,000 metric tonnes of cereals, the main staple in the food basket.
“China has responded quickly to the appeals of the international community for support to all those affected by drought in Kenya and other African countries. We have provided relief materials or cash aid as needed” said H.E Dr. Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador in Kenya. “At the same time, China has within its capacity rendered support to the assistance programs initiated by multilateral development organizations, and has exchanged experience in an increasingly open-minded manner.”
In addition to the monthly food ration, WFP sends a monthly cash transfer through mobile telephones, which is equivalent to one third of the minimum food requirement. The cash transfers are giving refugees a chance to diversify their diets while also increasing livelihood opportunities for both refugees and the surrounding communities.