Kenya refugee programmes being shut down due to funding cuts – aid agency

Cuts in foreign aid have forced a sharp reduction of education, water, and livelihood programmes for refugees in Kenya, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has said.

Kenya hosts at least 400,000 Somali and South Sudanese refugees.

“In Kenya, this year’s UN humanitarian appeal, which partly funds NRC, has received only $97 million, down from $340 million in 2017,” the aid agency said in a statement.

Donor funding to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda has dropped more than 60 per cent compared to 2017 levels, according to the non-governmental organisation.

NRC regional director Nigel Tricks warned that “fast and furious budget cuts are hitting the east Africa aid sector hard. If more funding isn’t found, malnutrition will rise, schools will close, and water-borne diseases will break out”.

He called on rich nations to “act now…to avoid a refugee catastrophe in east Africa”.

Meanwhile, a new United Nations report warns that the number of people going hungry in the world is growing, reaching 821 million last year.

In The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, the UN says there are “alarming signs of increasing food insecurity and high levels of different forms of malnutrition”, adding that “limited progress is also being made in addressing” the problem.

“Persistent instability in conflict-ridden regions, adverse climate events in many regions of the world and economic slowdowns that have affected more peaceful regions and worsened the food security, all help to explain this deteriorating situation,” the authors of the report say.

Africa remains the continent with the highest PoU, or prevalence of undernourishment, affecting more than 256 million people, they add.

Key figures

Number of  hungry people in the world in 2017: 821 million or 1 in every 9 people

Children under 5 affected by stunting (low height-for-age): 150.8 million (22.2%)

Children under 5 affected by wasting (low weight-for-height): 50.5 million (7.5%)

Children under 5 who are overweight (high weight-for-height): 38.3 million (5.6%)

Percentage of women of reproductive age affected by anaemia: 32.8%

Percentage of infants aged below 6 months who were exclusively breastfed: 40.7%

Adults who are obese: 672 million (13% or 1 in 8 adults).

Source: UN

The report was compiled by the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

It calls for “sustainable shift…towards nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems that can provide safe and high-quality food for all”.

Farah Yussuf is a Digital Reporter with Star FM Kenya. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Masinde Muliro University.

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