Government Donors Enable WFP to Resume Full Rations for Refugees in Kenya

NAIROBI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it will resume providing full food rations to refugees in Kenya in January, thanks to new donor contributions.

WFP distributes food twice a month to around half a million refugees in both the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in northern Kenya. In mid-November, insufficient funding forced WFP to reduce the size of their food rations by half.

Thanks to substantial support from government partners, US$45 million has been raised since WFP launched an urgent appeal in October alongside the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. The robust donor response allowed WFP to limit the size of the ration cut in December to 40 percent, and now enables the agency to resume full rations on 1 January.

“Refugees depend on food assistance for their survival and we are relieved that we can now once again meet the full food needs of refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma,” said Thomas Hansson, WFP Acting Country Director for Kenya. “I thank our donors who continue to contribute generously to ensure that refugees in Kenya have access to nutritious food and hope we can all work together to prevent disruptions in the future.”

The following donors (in alphabetical order) have announced new contributions to WFP’s refugee operation in Kenya: Denmark (US$1.3 million), the European Union (US$2.6 million), Germany (US$1.2 million), Saudi Arabia (US$10 million), the United Kingdom (US$5.1 million) and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (US$4.8 million). A US$20 million in-kind contribution from the United States is expected to arrive in February.

Kenyan government policy prevents refugees them working outside the camps, leaving them highly dependent on international assistance. Each month, WFP distributes 9,700 metric tons of food for 500,000 refugees in Kenya, at a cost of almost US$10 million.

The refugees are provided with cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, salt and a nutrient-rich maize-soya flour blend, together providing 2,100 kilocalories per person per day, the recommended daily caloric intake. In addition, WFP provides specialized nutritional support for mothers and young children.

Throughout 2014 WFP has responded to an extraordinary level of humanitarian suffering globally, as millions of people have been forced to flee their homes. This will likely continue in the new year. WFP’s work was possible because of strong donor support. As needs increasingly exceed funds made available, more donor backing will be essential in 2015.