As conflict intensifies in Africa, humanitarian agencies are facing dwindling supplies of food to aid war victims. Rations are being cut. The UN is appealing to the world for funds as their supply warehouses are nearly empty.
It is estimated that 800,000 refugees are impacted by the ration cuts. Some refugees already had to walk for days on little or no food just to reach the camps. Instead of safety and nourishment at these camps, they are facing more hardship.
There is fear that deadly malnutrition will be the result unless the international community quickly responds. The directors of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued an appeal last week for US $ 186 million.
WFP's director Ertharin Cousin says, “Many refugees in Africa depend on WFP food to stay alive and are now suffering because of a shortage of funding. So we are appealing to donor governments to help all refugees – half of whom are children – have enough food to be healthy and to build their own futures.” WFP, the world's largest hunger relief organization, relies entirely on voluntary funding.
Wars in Syria, South Sudan and Central African Republic have put a major strain on WFP operations. Millions of refugees are depending on food and other aid. Instead, war victims from all these countries have faced ration cuts.
There are now 51 million refugees worldwide, the most since the end of World War II. New conflicts are emerging on top of the existing ones. WFP is low on funding for almost every one of these missions.
Small children will suffer the most if the ration cuts are prolonged. Children can suffer lasting physical and mental damage if they do not receive enough food. They may also perish.
Congress will be deciding funding soon for international disaster relief. They will need to pass spending bills to increase funding for this humanitarian aid. The number of conflicts and refugees is growing at too rapid a pace. There has to be decisive action by Congress and soon.