For­eign aid cuts ex­pose refugees to catas­tro­phe

Business Daily (Kenya) - - T&OPPOLNITEICWSS - Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion

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.

-FILE

WOES The Dadaab refugee camp.

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