Africa: Amidst Escalating Needs and Soaring Hunger, Refugees Caught in the Eye of the Perfect Storm

Further food ration cuts are imminent for refugees as humanitarian needs multiply around the world while funding struggles to keep pace, the UN food relief agency warned on Monday, World Refugee Day.

“As global hunger soars way beyond the resources available to feed all the families who desperately need WFP’s help, we are being forced to make the heart-breaking decision to cut food rations for refugees who rely on us for their survival,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

Africans on the brink

The sombre warning comes as WFP has already been forced to significantly reduce rations to refugees across its operations.

Ration cuts of up to 50 per cent are affecting three-quarters of all refugees supported by WFP in Eastern Africa, with those living in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda most affected.

Numbers tell the story

  • 3 million people, including 27.1 million refugees and 53.2 IDPs were forcibly displaced by end-2021.
  • 100 million were forcibly displaced by end-May 2022.
  • Nearly 10 million refugees were assisted by WFP in 2021.
  • In Southern Africa, WFP requires nearly $113 million to support refugees over the next six months.
  • In Eastern Africa, WFP needs nearly $411 million to support refugees for the next six months.
  • In West Africa, WFP needs $76.5 million to support refugees for the next six months.

Severe funding constraints in West Africa, where hunger has reached a record high in a decade, have forced WFP to significantly reduce rations for refugees living in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Meanwhile, WFP assists on average 500,000 refugees in Southern Africa annually.

Despite generous support from donors, resourcing remains insufficient to meet the very basic needs of refugee households and imminent disruptions are expected in Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.