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Namibia: UN food agency seeks funding for refugee camp

Namibia: UN food agency seeks funding for refugee camp

The lead United Nations food agency has made an urgent appeal to international donors to help stave off a fourth successive month of cuts in food rations for the Osire refugee camp in Namibia.

With new refugees flooding into the camp from conflicts in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it is racing against time to find fresh resources for the operation, which has received just 30 per cent of the funds it needs for the year. The funding shortfall has forced WFP to reduce monthly food rations of 2,100 kilocalories by 20 per cent.

"We are quickly running out of food and time," Ronald Sibanda, a WFP official in neighbouring Angola, said. "If we don't receive more help from the donor community soon, we will see a dangerous rupture in the food pipeline and rations will have to be cut even further."

The United States and Sweden have already covered 30 per cent of the costs of the operation, with donations of $330,000 and $96,000 respectively, WFP says. Those donations will cover the camp's needs until August, at which point food stocks will run out unless further funds are received.

WFP has been providing life-sustaining rations to the Osire camp since April 2000, following a request from the Namibian Government to provide food for the growing refugee population, which now exceeds 20,000. Rations are delivered in the form of maize meal, pulses, corn-soya blend, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.