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Dzaleka refugees face food shortage

By Yohane Symon:

World Food Programme (WFP) h a s appealed to the Malawi Government and other concerned partners to rescue over 40,000 refugees who face acute food shortage at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa District.

In a statement released Monday, WFP says the food situation has worsened, affecting 80 percent of the refugees.

About $1.7 million (K1.3 billion) is required to improve the food situation between now and December 2019, WFP says.

“In May this year, WFP was forced to reduce by half the food rations it provides to refugees and asylum seekers due to insufficient funding. Current maize stocks are due to run out in December while supplies of other food commodities will be completed in October without additional funding,” the statement reads.

WFP says the situation has worsened due to the increased inflow of refugees into Malawi because of political and civil instability in countries such as Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Between January and June alone, Malawi received 2,000 refugees, piling more pressure on the meagre resources for refugees in the country.

WFP says a recent study has shown that the worsening food shortage at Dzaleka has forced some women and girls to engage in survival and transactional sex in exchange for either food or money.

The situation, however, has created fear that some refugees might opt to stay out of the camp which can create insecurity.

In an interview, WFP representative Badre Bahaji appealed to well-wishers to rescue the refugees at Dzaleka.

Bahaji said WFP fears that further reduction of the food ration might heighten the risk of women and girls engaging in risky survival means.

Annually, W F P requires about $4.2 million to support refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi.

Recently, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC) striped off the refugee’s status on all Rwanda citizens, saying peace has now returned to the East African country.

UNHCR urged countries that are hosting the Rwandese to facilitate their voluntary repatriation.

Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi could not comment on the progress which the government has made to allow Rwandese to return to their home, saying he needed more time to consult on the matter.

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