Refugees in Africa ‘even more vulnerable than ever’ amid COVID crisis

Millions of refugees across Africa face even greater food insecurity because of aid disruption and rising food prices linked to the COVID-19 crisis, UN humanitarians warned on Thursday.

“While the situation continues to deteriorate for everyone, the disaster is magnified for refugees who have absolutely nothing to cushion their fall”, said WFP Executive Director, David Beasley. “In the best of times, refugees live in cramped conditions, struggle to meet their basic needs and often have no option but to rely on outside assistance for their survival. Now more than ever, they need our lifesaving support.”

More than 10 million refugees worldwide receive WFP assistance today; this includes the world’s largest refugee settlements, such as Bidibidi in Uganda, where food rations were cut by 30 per cent in April, owing to cash shortfalls.

Reduced rations

More than 3.2 million refugees across East Africa are already receiving reduced rations because of underfunding, including in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Tanzania.

Significant funding shortfalls either threaten or have led to food cuts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

Without urgent action, levels of acute malnutrition, stunting and anemia are expected to rise, the agencies warned, while also urging Governments to ensure that refugees and displaced populations are included in social safety nets and COVID-19 response plans – in line with the Global Compact on Refugees – to ensure they are able to access food and emergency cash assistance.

Source: UN News