UN seeks $6.7 million to feed quarter million refugees in Kenya till end of 2005

28 June 2005

With refugee numbers in Kenya failing to decline despite peace moves in Somalia and Sudan, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today appealed for $6.7 million to feed nearly a quarter of a million refugees in two northern Kenyan camps until the end of 2005.

With refugee numbers in Kenya failing to decline despite peace moves in Somalia and Sudan, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today appealed for $6.7 million to feed nearly a quarter of a million refugees in two northern Kenyan camps until the end of 2005.

“The expectation was these numbers would begin dropping off once the peace agreement was signed,” WFP Kenya Country Director Tesema Negash said of the January accord between the Government and rebels in southern Sudan that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war.

“But the lack of schools, health facilities, food and basic infrastructure – plus uncertainty over the peace deal – has stopped people from returning to their homeland in significant numbers,” he added.

“These people are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they return home, they will face the incredible challenge of finding food and water. Yet by staying here in Kenya, they face another uncertainty – whether they will eat or not.”

The number of Sudanese in Kakuma is still rising. Citing inter-clan violence and limited resources such as food, shelter, schools, health facilities and employment opportunities, nearly 5,000 additional refugees have arrived since January, bringing the total population there to more than 91,000.

WFP warned that maize, pulses, corn-soya blend and oil for rations would run out by October unless funding is received urgently for 11,720 tons of food. By November, wheat and salt would also be exhausted, leaving the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps with no food to distribute.

Like those in Kakuma, nearly 140,000 Somali refugees in Dadaab camp in eastern Kenya have shown no signs of moving home, despite the creation eight months ago of an interim Somali Government that this month took the first steps to establish itself in the town of Jowhar.

“While the international community often responds to new upheavals and natural disasters, long-standing refugee situations, where hundreds of thousands of people depend on food and other aid, are often overlooked and are last in the line for international assistance,” Mr. Negash said.

 

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