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Over 400,000 refugees face starvation at Dadaab camp

By Moses Nyamori | Updated Thu, December 8th 2016 at 00:04 GMT +3

More than 400,000 refugees at Dadaab and Kakuma camps are staring at starvation in the wake of severe funding cuts.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Wednesday said Sh1.4 billion food aid is required to ensure survival of the refugees.

The agency said it has been forced to make new cuts in food rations for the refugees because it is rapidly running out of resources to feed the 434,000 refugees living in the two camps as well as those at the new Kalobeyei settlement.

"We are appealing to donors to come to the aid of the refugees, who rely on WFP's food assistance for survival," said Annalisa Conte, the Country Director for Kenya.

"We require $13.7 million to cover the food and cash needs for the refugees between December and April next year," Conte said.

WFP provides food to refugees in the country as a combination of cash transfers and food distributions. However, beginning this year, it was forced to cut the monthly food ration entitlements by half.

WFP says the food currently in their stores will only last until the end of February unless it gets funding to support the programme.

At least 7,500 refugees at Kalobeyei settlement will also be hard-hit should the agency discontinue cash transfers.

"A generous and critically important $22 million (Sh2.2 billion) shipment of food from the United States is en route to Dadaab and Kakuma, and should be available for distribution by May, but we have a dangerous gap in funding until then," Conte warned.

She added: "Without an urgent response from other donors, we will completely run out of food for more than 400,000 people in Dadaab and Kakuma at the end of February."

Last month, Kenya postponed the deadline to close Dadaab refugee camp by six months with over 200,000 refugees still there.

Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filipo Grandi requested to have the deadline for repatriating the refugees extended.