Ireland helps maintain critical support to refugees in Tanzania

02Dec 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Ireland helps maintain critical support to refugees in Tanzania

IRELAND yesterday provided the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with a contribution of EUR 500,000 to support refugees hosted in Tanzania.

With these funds, Ireland is helping WFP maintain its assistance operations for a quarter of a million refugees. The refugees, primarily from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are hosted by the Government of Tanzania at three camps in Kigoma Region in the west of Tanzania.

As a result of an increasing influx of refugee arrivals – currently more than 10,000 are crossing into Tanzania each month – WFP has been experiencing shortfalls in funding for its refugee operation. Thanks to contributions from Ireland and other donors, impending ration cuts for refugees have been avoided, at least until next year.

“Ireland has a strong global commitment to reducing hunger and malnutrition,” says Irish ambassador to Tanzania Paul Sherlock.

“Tanzania has always shown enormous generosity in hosting large number of refugees. It is our hope that our contribution today will help the government, WFP and its partners ensure that the food needs of the most vulnerable refugees living in Tanzania are met.”

Refugees receive vital food assistance in the form of hot meals at transit and reception centres, and a monthly food allowance at the camps consisting of maize meal, pulses, salt, vegetable oil and a fortified porridge.

WFP also provides supplementary food for pregnant and nursing women, children under the age of five, hospital in-patients and people living with HIV/AIDS.

These specifically targeted feeding programmes provide recipients with much needed nutrition through additional rations of fortified foods or micronutrient powders. These nutrients can be critical in the fight against stunting and under nutrition in children while also boosting the immune systems of vulnerable people.

“This generous contribution from Ireland to WFP really boosts our feeding and nutrition programmes for these displaced people,” says WFP Country Representative, Michael Dunford. “We can now turn our focus to the food and nutrition needs of this growing refugee population in 2017.”

Tanzania continues to receive hundreds of new refugees every day. The situations in their homelands make their return in the near future uncertain. WFP requires US$ 6 million per month to sustain its support to refugees.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.