Ethiopia: UN Pleads for U.S.$80 Million to Feed Refugees in Ethiopia

Rahima Dadafe, a 23-year-old mother of four, is holding her youngest son, Nebiyu Jemal, age 1. She says the family is surviving on food assistance from the government, along with the special nutritious food from WFP to help baby Nebiyu recover from malnutrition. “When the rain stopped raining, our crops failed and our livestock started dying because there was no grass for them to feed on. I had three cows. They all died. Now we are {living on} the assistance from the government.” she said.

The United Nations (UN) refugee agencies are requesting for 80 million dollars from donors to provide food assistance to refugees in Ethiopia.

The amount of food that refugees receive was cut by 20pc last year. It fell below the 2,100 Kilocalories per day required to sustain the average person. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) forsee deeper cuts to the amount of food from April onwards unless new funding is received in March.

Without new contributions, 650,000 refugees in camps in Ethiopia could soon become even more hungry and may eventually face hunger that is so critical that it could put lives at risk, according to a report from the UN.

Ethiopia hosts the second largest number of refugees in Africa. There are more than 900,000 refugees in the country, including people from Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia. Some 650,000 of them live in camps and depend on compensation from the WFP and the UNHCR.

"After retreating from conflict and deprivation in their home countries, refugees deserve to be protected and supported," said Samir Wanmali, WFP's acting country director in Ethiopia.

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