Kigali: The Republic of Korea has contributed USD 1 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in order to maintain food assistance for over 128,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees as well as asylum seekers residing in camps in Rwanda.
The contribution was announced on Wednesday 7th March 2018 by the Korean ambassador to Rwanda Ambassador Kim Eung Joong, during his official visit to Mahama refugee camp where he was received by the Government officials, the United nations resident coordinator Mr. Fodé Ndiaye and heads of UN agencies.
Ambassador Kim said, “The international community should maintain its attention to the humanitarian needs and concerns in Mahama camp and the other parts of the world. I would be happy if this contribution could help relieve the great sufferings of displaced persons.”
Ambassador Kim serving fortified porridge to children in Mahama camp
This contribution is critical as WFP is distributing rations reduced by 25% since January 2018 for all refugee camps in Rwanda. With limited access to livelihood activities, refugees in Rwanda’s camps continue to depend entirely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.
Thanks to donors like the Republic of Korea, WFP managed to mitigate the ration reductions in Rwanda. In other countries in the region, even harsher reductions had to be implemented due to an increase in humanitarian needs around the world.
In spite of the reduced food rations, WFP has this far been able to give a full ration of targeted nutrition support to refugees identified as particularly vulnerable in camps in Rwanda, such as: children under five years of age, school children, pregnant and nursing mothers as well as people living with HIV and tuberculosis patients under treatment.
This vital contribution from the Republic of Korea has been used to purchase mainly maize and beans for Burundian refugees as well as to provide cash transfers to Congolese refugees to enable them to buy food from local markets. WFP also purchased fortified blended food, to support the most vulnerable people who are in need of a particular diet.
“WFP is grateful to the Republic of Korea for its continuous commitment to refugees in Rwanda, the region and around the world,” said WFP Rwanda Country Director and Representative Jean- Pierre de Margerie. “This timely support from the people of Korea is critical in meeting the food needs for Burundians and Congolese who have fled their homes to Rwanda. It has allowed us to avoid even harsher ration reductions, as well as keeping the supplementary feeding for the most vulnerable refugees” he added.
Rwanda currently hosts 163,000 refugees. Of these, 128,000 people are camp based and are entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance. The increasing influx of Burundian refugees into Rwanda due to insecurity in the region has resulted in greater resourcing needs for WFP to meet the basic needs of refugees.
WFP requires US$2.5 million every month to provide full food or cash assistance to refugees in Rwanda. If WFP receives no new funds, deeper reductions to cash and food may be necessary in coming months. US$10 million are needed to restore full support for the next six months.