Foreign aid cuts expose refugees to catastrophe
Drastic cuts in foreign aid are putting millions of refugees fleeing war and drought in East Africa at risk of malnutrition and diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery and cholera, aid agencies warned on Monday.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said donor funding to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania — which host over two million refugees from neighbouring nations — has dropped by over 60 percent compared to the previous year.
The lack of funds has meant that conditions in many refugee camps across the three nations are deteriorating - with less food, clean water and sanitation available for refugees.
“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,” the NRC’S regional director Nigel Tricks said in a statement. “Rich nations should step up to support countries that are still accepting refugees.”
There are at least 22 million refugees around the world.
About 85 per cent of refugees are hosted in developing countries in Africa and the Middle East, most of which do not have the resources to support the hundreds of thousands fleeing wars in nations such as South Sudan, Somalia and Syria.
But funding from western donors to support these refugees has decreased. In Kenya, for example, the UN has raised $97 million to support about 500,000 refugees this year, down 70 per cent from the $340 million received in 2017.
Dana Hughes, UNHCR’S East Africa spokesperson, said the “chronic levels of underfunding” were resulting in overcrowded classrooms, families going without food and risks of disease outbreaks.
WOES The Dadaab refugee camp.