Burundian Refugees Get Food from Rwanda

Jean-Pierre de Margerie (L) and Takayuki Miyashita, the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda (R) during the handover ceremony at WFP in Kigali

World Food Program (WFP) – Rwanda will today start a process of distributing sacks of beans grown by Rwandan farmers to 55,000 Burundian refugees.

An official handover of the food was today held at WFP office between WFP representative and Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda.

According to Jean-Pierre de Margerie, WFP Rwanda representative and country director, his organization received US$ 1.466 million funding from Japan government to provide food and nutrition assistance to over 55,000 Burundian refugees residing in Mahama refugee camp in Eastern Rwanda and other reception centres.

The support comes two weeks after WFP Rwanda supplied an estimate 500 tons of beans to starving Burundians in their country.

Despite its citizens starving, Burundi government refused the food on ground that is coming from Rwanda – a country that has become scapegoat of a crisis they (Burundians) failed to settle since April 2015.

The beans were returned to WFP – Kigali and are being distributed through other channels to other refugees in the region also in need of food.

The beans in distribution to Mahama are not from the lot that was returned, KT Press has learnt. They are from another lot because WFP had gotten more tons from Rwanda.

“As the food and nutrition requirements of refugees in Rwanda remain critically important, the Japanese contribution will allow WFP to continue to ensure the general food distribution to 55,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda,” said Mr de Margerie.

The food is made of 147 metric tons of beans that were grown in Rwanda, on top of 55 tons of fortified food destined to the children under malnutrition and 34 tons of cooking oil.

“The people of Japan are acutely aware that nutrition is the very foundation of health and is therefore stepping up its support for the alleviation of hunger and malnutrition among the most vulnerable people,” said Takayuki Miyashita, the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda.

The funding from Japanese government follows another support in December last year amounting to 140 million Japanese Yens (US $1.4 million).

WFP is currently providing food assistance to more than 150,000 people each month, under its refugee operations in Rwanda. These include 138,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees residing in refugee camps across the country.




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