The United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Refugee and Returnee Service (RRS) appeal for funds to continue feeding more than 750,000 refugees in Ethiopia

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The United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Ethiopia’s Refugee and Returnee Service (RRS) today appealed for $73 million to providing food rations to more than 750,000 refugees in Ethiopia over the next six months. . WFP will completely run out of food for refugees by October, leaving vulnerable families dependent on food aid at risk of undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, vulnerability to disease/infection and increased protection risks, warn three agencies.

Due to protracted funding shortfalls, WFP has already been forced to cut rations for 750,000 registered refugees living in 22 camps and five sites in host communities in Afar, Amhara, Benishangul- Gumuz, Gambella, Somali and Tigray in Ethiopia.

Food rations for refugees in Ethiopia were reduced for the first time by 16 percent in November 2015, 40 percent in November 2021 and 50 percent in June 2022. Food insecurity among refugees has increased at the following the cuts and is further compounded by the current global limitations in food availability, economic shocks, rising food and energy costs, the fallout from COVID-19, conflict and insecurity.

To understand the impact of ration cuts on the food security and socio-economic situation of refugees, WFP, UNHCR and RRS conducted a rapid assessment in April that was based on 1,215 households residing in camps located in Afar, Beneshangul-Gumuz, Gambella and Somali regions.

The results show that more households continued to adopt negative coping strategies by reducing the number of meals eaten per day, consuming less expensive or less preferred foods, or limiting the portion of meals served. More households reported engaging in degrading activities including involving children in income-generating activities, collecting and selling firewood, while several borrowed money, relying on friends/ parents for food. This forces refugees to depend on the resources of the host community and the environment in which they live, which also increases the likelihood of resource-related conflicts between refugees and host communities.

More resources must be urgently mobilized to meet the immediate food and non-food needs of refugees to avert further suffering, while similar investments are made to enable durable food solutions integrated into the commitments made under the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR)[1] and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF)[2] for refugees and host communities through livelihood and cash programs in line with UNHCR and RRS strategies. As a short-term measure, WFP and its partners continue to prioritize the needs of children aged 6–23 months and pregnant and lactating women as part of the program to prevent undernutrition (blanket supplementary feeding).

“Three quarters of a million refugees will have nothing to eat in a few weeks unless we receive funding immediately,” said Claude Jibidar, WFP Representative and Country Director for Ethiopia.

“The priority for all of us must be to restore assistance to at least minimum levels for the refugees, all of whom rely solely on cash and food assistance from the WFP for their survival.”

“We have a shortfall of $73 million for the minimum needs of refugees and we are deeply concerned that if funding cuts continue, they may consider returning to their places of origin when this is not possible. is not sure.

If there is an immediate donor response, WFP may purchase food available in the region and transport it to meet the food needs of the refugees. WFP will also transfer cash to refugees, giving them choice in how to meet their immediate needs and boosting local markets.

“We are very concerned about the lack of food for the refugees. The continued lack of full rations for refugees, coupled with the impact of the worst drought the country has experienced in over 40 years, will significantly undermine progress made in refugee protection and risk impacting peaceful coexistence between refugees and their host. communities,” said UNHCR Deputy Representative in Ethiopia Margaret Atieno. “We are grateful for what donors have provided so far, but more funding is needed and quickly.”

“Ethiopia, with its progressive refugee policy and commitments, has strived to ensure the sustainable self-reliance of refugees and host communities with its limited resources, struggling with recurrent funding shortfalls of the part of the international community. The subsequent deduction of the global humanitarian assistance fund for refugees in Ethiopia over the past few years has not only affected the immediate basic needs of refugees, but has also hampered the long-term planned sustainable self-reliance and coexistence of refugees and host communities. RRS Director General Tesfahun Gobezay said.

“Current resource constraints create conflict and stress due to competition over the scarce local resources that exist. Ongoing budget cuts and the recent 50 percent reduction in food and cash assistance to refugees below the minimum recommended standard are severely affecting the lives of refugees, exposing them to chronic hunger, anaemia, sexual exploitation and death, as more than 85 percent of refugees in Ethiopia depend entirely on monthly food rations from WFP. This will hamper Ethiopia’s positive development towards achieving self-reliance and coexistence of refugees and host communities and, most importantly, will make all rescue efforts difficult.

WFP, UNHCR and RRS continue to prioritize the food needs of refugees and have put in place an effective system to identify refugee food assistance needs through biometric verification, ensuring accountability and accountability. entitled to monthly food and cash assistance. The three agencies call on all partners to strengthen their efforts to meet the medium and long-term food needs of refugees, in line with the Ethiopian government’s 2019 refugee proclamation and the commitments contained in the GCR and CRRF.

Ethiopia hosts over one million registered refugees and asylum seekers. Most of them come from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. Of these, around 750,000 are entirely dependent on humanitarian food aid. RRS manages the distribution of food and cash assistance to refugees in a more accountable and transparent manner in accordance with the biometric database. The RRS will continue to ensure that asylum seekers and refugees have access to biometric registration (tier three) to meet their assistance and protection needs.

WFP, UNHCR and RRS continue to rely on the donor community for extended financial support to refugees based on the principle of shared responsibility for the implementation of basic life-saving humanitarian activities.

[1] The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 17, 2018, is designed to promote shared responsibility between host countries and communities to better support refugees.

[2] As stated in the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) emphasizes the importance of supporting countries and communities hosting large numbers of refugees, to promote the inclusion of refugees in host communities and to develop a whole-of-society approach to refugee responses.

Distributed by APO Group for the World Food Program (WFP).

This press release was issued by APO. Content is not vetted by the African Business editorial team and none of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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