NAIROBI- The UN World Food Program (WFP) said on Tuesday that it has received 8.2 million U.S. dollars to support refugees in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in Kenya as well as the host community in northern region.
The funds which were contributed by Sweden (6.9 million dollars) and Finland (1.3 million dollars) are in response to a joint appeal for urgent donations to the refugee program in Kenya made by WFP and UNHCR in November last year.
“I would like to thank the governments of Sweden and Finland for their substantial contributions at a time when we were experiencing severe funding difficulties for the refugee program in Kenya,” WFP’s Kenya Country Director Ronald Sibanda said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
“Having been forced to reduce food rations for the refugees by 20 percent in November and December, the generosity of Sweden, Finland and others who responded to our appeal meant WFP resumed full rations for the refugees in January.”
WFP faced severe funding shortfalls that led to temporary cuts in food rations for the 480,000 refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma in northern Kenya.
Dadaab has been providing protection, shelter and humanitarian assistance to Somali refugees for two decades often under difficult and complex circumstances. Chronic overcrowding, a risk of disease, and seasonal floods are among these challenges.
With parts of Somalia showing signs of increasing stability, countries hosting Somali refugees are considering the potential to encourage them to return, while some Somalis have spontaneously decided to move back to areas under government control.
Swedish Ambassador to Kenya Johan Borgstam said he was happy to work with WFP to provide necessary food assistance to the refugees in Kenya. “We are also concerned about environmental protection and our support therefore includes funding to fuel-efficient stoves for the refugees and the host community,” Borgstam said.
Besides providing food assistance to the refugees, the funding from Sweden enables WFP to give fuel-efficient stoves to 3,500 families in Dadaab and Kakuma.
WFP said since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in mid- December last year, Kakuma has received some 16,000 new arrivals. An average of 300 people, mostly women and children, arrive daily at the camp.
“The government of Finland firmly supports WFP’s efforts in the fight against hunger and will continue partnering with the organization in this noble mission,” said Sofie From-Emmesberger, Ambassador of Finland to Kenya.