UN food agency appeals for urgent aid for Colombian refugees in Ecuador
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today called on donors to provide $1 million for immediate food assistance to 6,300 Colombian refugees and asylum seekers living in Ecuador after fleeing a decades-long armed conflict that has displaced almost 3 million of their fellow countrymen.
“We are seriously concerned about the wellbeing of thousands of refugees, among them more than 1,350 children, who are especially vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition,” WFP Ecuador Country Director Helmut Rauch said.
“Children have been separated from their communities, schools and even their parents. We need to be able to provide them with the essential tools to help them become healthy and productive adults,” he added, noting that unless WFP receives new donations soon, it will have to cut back in other programmes or wind up its current aid.
“When food becomes scarce, refugees often turn to desperate measures to feed themselves and their families,” he said.
Between 2000 and 2005, only 10,738 Colombians out of 34,170 were recognised as refugees in Ecuador. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and WFP, around 6,300 refugees urgently need food aid every month.