The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has increased food assistance for refugees in all five camps across Rwanda by 43 percent to help them meet their basic needs following the increase in food and energy prices globally. From February 2023, refugees classified as highly vulnerable, will receive RWF 10,000 (1) per person per month (increased from RWF 7,000). Refugees classified as moderately vulnerable, will receive RWF 5,000 (2) per person per month (increased from RWF 3,500). These are reduced rations from the adjusted full entitlements of RWF 13,600 for highly and RWF 7,800 for moderately vulnerable refugees due to WFP’s funding shortfalls.
WFP’s monthly price monitoring indicates that the average cost of the food basket in December 2022 was 77 percent higher compared to December 2021. “The global rising costs of food, energy, and transportation is putting food out of reach for thousands of families and threatening to push them further into hunger,” says Ahmareen Karim, WFP’s acting Country Director in Rwanda. “This increased support will give refugees more choice to address their essential needs in local markets, while also helping to boost local economies.”
In May 2021, WFP introduced needs-based assistance for refugees in Rwanda – ensuring that limited resources are prioritized for the most vulnerable refugees. Currently, out of 127,000 refugees hosted in Rwanda, WFP provides food and nutrition assistance to 113,650 camp-based refugees, with 87 percent of all refugees classified as highly vulnerable and 6 percent as moderately vulnerable. Infants and young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people living with HIV and tuberculosis receive additional supplemental nutrition assistance to prevent and treat malnutrition. School children from refugee communities and children from host communities who attend the same schools also receive daily nutritious porridge or hot meals.
WFP works closely with the Government of Rwanda, UN partners and civil society organizations to contribute to the food security of vulnerable population groups, such as refugees and asylum seekers, despite the significant food price increases across the country.
UNHCR’s representative Aissatou Masseck Dieng-Ndiaye comments: “The increase of the value of food assistance for refugees comes at a critical time. Inflation, including in food prices, is making it harder for refugees to meet their basic needs. By working closely with WFP to identify the most vulnerable refugee populations, UNHCR hopes that this latest change will prevent refugees resorting to negative coping strategies and help them better support their families.”
WFP is currently supporting the recent influx of newly displaced persons from the Democratic Republic of Congo with life-saving in-kind food assistance in the Nkamira transit camp.
“The Government of Rwanda will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to ensure the well-being and full protection of hosted refugees and asylum seekers. The Government will also continue to ensure that all its pledges and commitment for refugee protection and inclusion are fulfilled in accordance with international conventions and national laws,” says Philippe Habinshuti, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).