News / Africa

UN Forced to Cut Food Rations to African Refugees

Girls check their ratio cards as they wait to receive food during food distribution in Minkaman, Lakes State, South Sudan, June 26, 2014.
Girls check their ratio cards as they wait to receive food during food distribution in Minkaman, Lakes State, South Sudan, June 26, 2014.

The United Nations World Food Program is reducing food aid to nearly 800,000 refugees in Africa.

The agency said the cuts of 40 to 60 percent will affect refugees in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad, Uganda, Mauritania, Mozambique, Ghana, Liberia and Burkina Faso.

The cuts are "threatening to worsen already unacceptable levels of acute malnutrition, stunting and anemia, particularly in children," the WFP and refugee agency UNHCR said in a joint statement.

WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon told VOA in a phone interview Tuesday there are two main reasons for the cut.

"Mostly it is because of funding difficulties. We have not got the money to keep full rations on for these people," Smerdon said.

He said security concerns and the difficulty of shipping food by road also play a role. WFP could transport or drop the food by air, but that makes the operation prohibitively expensive, Smerdon added.

Consequences of malnutrition

However, the long-term consequences of malnutrition are serious, Smerdon stressed.

"If a child from the first thousand days of conception does not receive the correct nutrients and nutrients that it needs to develop, that child will have lifelong consequences on its health," he said.

Smerdon said malnutrition lowers the gross domestic product of many countries by several percentage points.

The cost of the WFP aid programs is far less than the long-term costs associated with malnutrition, he said, adding that finding the money now is difficult.

"There are increasingly a large number of emergencies where people are not receiving enough food and being uprooted from their homes and are in need of food and other assistance just keep themselves alive," Smerdon said. "So those emergencies suck up the money in the short term that would be better spent trying to fix the problem in the longer term."

The U.N. said 2.4 million refugees across Africa depend on its agencies for food. 

The WFP said restoring the cuts to its food programs worldwide would require nearly $200 million.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid