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UNHCR Falling Short of Food for Refugees in Rwanda

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
3:29 pm

Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan at Giheke Refugee Camp talks to mothers         

The UN Refugee Agency in Rwanda has told international advocate of the refugees that they have a challenge of enough food and other amenities to cater for more than 13,000 Congolese refugees living in Gicumbi, northern Rwanda for more than 20 years now.

The UN Refugee Agency’s, Patron for Maternal and Newborn Health Princess Sarah Zeid visited the Gihembe Refugee Camp on November 12, 2012.

Princess Sarah met and held discussions with refugee women on the daily challenges they face.

She witnessed first-hand the many unmet needs in the areas of health and nutrition, as well as the poor state of the shelters, lack of energy and lighting posing serious protection issues, especially for women and girls.

She said she was disappointed.

“During my visit in refugee camps in Rwanda two years ago – when I went to Gihembe and Mahama camps – I saw the challenges and gaps that needed to be addressed to ensure that physical and protection risks faced by refugees can be diminished. I was deeply saddened to see that the situation of the refugees living in Gihembe has remained unchanged or has deteriorated,” she said.

During the focus group discussions, she noted that the main issues raised were health and nutrition, lack of lighting in the camp, alternative solutions to cooking energy, lack of livelihood opportunities and lack of child friendly spaces.

“Main reasons for this worsening conditions are the lack of resources and funding. Needs and challenges are augmenting while resources are shrinking”, said UNHCR’s Representative, Mr. Ahmed Baba Fall.

Princess Sarah expressed her appreciation to the Government of Rwanda for its hospitality, close partnership with UNHCR and for the support they continue to provide to the more than 150,000 refugees living in the country.

Food shortage in refugee camps is a current issue.

In February 2018, refugees in Kiziba camp, Karongi district were involved in violent protests following UN Agency’s decision to cut food ratio.

UN Refugee Agency cites issues of lack of funds to cater for refugees.