World Refugee Day: Amidst soaring hunger, South Sudan refugees express concern

Further food ration cuts are imminent for refugees as humanitarian needs multiply around the world while funding struggles to keep pace, the UN food relief agency warned on Monday, World Refugee Day.

Each year on June 20, the world celebrates World Refugee Day. This year, the focus is on the right to seek safety.

“As global hunger soars way beyond the resources available to feed all the families who desperately need WFP’s help, we are being forced to make the heartbreaking decision to cut food rations for refugees who rely on us for their survival,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

The sombre warning comes as WFP has already been forced to significantly reduce rations to refugees across its operations.

Ration cuts of up to 50 per cent are affecting three-quarters of all refugees supported by WFP in Eastern Africa, with those living in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda most affected.

Some 1.6 million people are internally displaced, and 2.2 million South Sudanese are refugees in neighbouring countries.

Radio Tamazuj caught up with South Sudanese refugees living in northern Ugandan and Sudan to speak about their situations amid escalating needs.

Several refugee families complained that they are living in poor conditions, saying they lack food and healthcare.

Angelo Donata, a refugee at Dar es Salaam camp in Khartoum, said that for more than a year, they have not received humanitarian aid from any organization and that their humanitarian conditions in the camp are worsening.

“We hope that the government, the host community and the United Nations will look into our situation by providing the most basic necessities of life for food,” he said.

Manal Abdullah Akol, head of Our Family Association in Wad al-Bashir camp, west of Omdurman, said: “Cases of night blindness and malnutrition are on the rise. Night blindness is prevalent due to the lack of food, and the majority of families in the camp eat one meal a day,” she explained.

Ramadan Odok, the coordinator of Upper Nile refugees at Naivasha camp in Omdurman, said that there is an acute food shortage, besides the spread of diseases among the South Sudanese refugees. Adok pointed out that they have not received relief from humanitarian organizations for a long time.

“Children are suffering from malnutrition, and the rainy season has exacerbated our conditions because we live in makeshift houses,” he said.

Adeng Juma, a mother of seven from the Borole camp in northern Uganda, said that the reduction of food rations by humanitarian organizations has worsened their humanitarian situation.

“Food is not enough, we don’t have the money to buy food, and the children are hungry,” she said.

Nyoka Abraham, a mother of ten, says she has resorted to farming and small businesses to provide for her family at the Borole camp. “Since last year, the organizations reduced food rations, so I decided to embark on farming, because my family consists of 10 members, and my husband is not here in the camp,” she said.

Source: Radio Tamazuj