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UN agencies warn food shortage at Dzaleka Camp

UN agencies warn that Dzaleka refugee camp in central Malawi is running out of food supplies. The camp which caters for more than 23,500 refugees, mostly from the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions have access to only 40 percent of the daily recommended minimum of calories.

Due to lack of money the World Food Programme (WFP) has been forced to reduce food aid at Dzaleka camp in the last six months. Refugees are receiving only three of five planned foods – pulses, vegetable oil and maize – at half the amount they should get.

Without more funding, maize stocks are set to run out in mid-February, while vegetable oil, pulses and a nutrition-enhanced corn soya flour will likely be depleted by May, said the WFP and U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) in an appeal for an additional $2 million.

“The situation is becoming dire,” Monique Ekoko, UNHCR’s representative for Malawi, said in a statement.

“Many of the most vulnerable, including children, the chronically ill, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and the elderly are at the brink of malnutrition.”

When rations are cut, the camp environment becomes less safe for women and girls, the agencies said. A survey found that lack of food was a key driver of sexual and gender-based violence among the refugees, they added.

A Malawi’s Commissioner for Refugees, Bestone Chisamile, said the country would meet its international obligations to refugees, but needed support from WFP and UNHCR to do so.

“That is why we’re appealing to the international community to provide the necessary funding so that refugee families in Malawi do not go to bed hungry,” said Chisamile. – Daily Mail UK

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