About 12,000 refugees from the Central African Republic based in Cameroon’s Eastern Region are at risk of starvation if food assistance is not made available to them immediately.
To this end, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have called on international donors to immediately make available the necessary funds to save the situation.
“Due to the lack of finances since the months of May and June, 2020, the World Food Programme has been forced to reduce by 50 per cent its food aid.
Taking into account the actual level of financing, this United Nations organ would completely cease its assistance within this month of August, 2020”, a WFP official told local media.
These difficulties, according to the said official, have forced the refugees to adjust their feeding habits, such as “jumping meals or reducing quantities. In certain cases, other refugees have been forced to beg, prostitute or enter into forced early marriages in order to meet up with their food needs”.
This particularly worrying situation has led the High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme to appeal to donors of the international community to make available supplementary funds to avoid the refugees dying from hunger within the next months.
According to a communiqué signed by officials of the two United Nations agencies, the activities of the UNHCR and the WFP require US$1.2 billion in order to sustain the food needs of the refugees till the end of the year 2020.
Of this amount, US$694 million would be necessary for operations in Africa alone.
According to the said officials, the world humanitarian response in the face of the COVID-19 would require that the High Commissioner for Refugees spend US$754 million for its global activities with US$227 going to its operations in Africa.
While waiting for the mobilization of the required funds, the UN officials, who spoke on the issue, elected for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the said agencies.
He called on “the Cameroonian government to ensure that these Central African Republic refugees are taken care of in the country’s fight against COVID-19 in conformity with the engagements entered into within the context of the world pact on refugees so that they can have access to food and urgent financial assistance”.
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