WFP RAISES THE ALARM OVER FUNDING DEFICIT FOR FEEDING PROGRAMME FOR 320,000 REFUGEES IN TANZANIA

DAR-ES-SALAAM, The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has raised the alarm over a funding deficit to feed 320,000 refugees in Kigoma in western Tanzania, saying it needs 23.6 million US dollars between now and December to supply food to these refugees.

The WFP Tanzania Country Representative, Michael Dunford, said in a statement iissued here that the WFP had already reduced food rations for the refugees in Mtendeli, Nduta and Nyarugusu camps in northwestern Tanzania on the shores of Lake Tangayika, near the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi, because of funding constraints.

WFP urgently requires 23.6 million dollars between now and December to continue meeting the food and nutritional needs of the refugees, reads the statement.

Tanzanian Home Affairs (Interior) Minister Mwigulu Nchemba, when addressing the refugees over the weekend, had warned against the reduced food rations, which he related to increased conflicts pitting the refugees against residents around the refugees' camps.

International laws require provision of food to all refugees in camps at 100 per cent of their needs ... failure to provide refugees with adequate food is fuelling insecurity since they look for alternative means to fend for themselves, the minister warned. During his visit to the camps, Mwigulu was informed by Muhambwe Member of Parliament, Atashata Nditiye, of increased conflicts in the area, accusing refugees of stealing food from the villagers' farms.

The officer in charge of the Mtendeli refugees camp, Optatus Kazonde, told the minister that the rations for refugees had been reduced to 60 per cent, noting that the reduction was one of the measures to compel refugees to return to their home countries.

The UN agency provides the refugees, primarily from Burundi and the DRC, with five food commodities -- maize meal, pulses, super cereal, vegetable oil and salt.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK