The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has distributed relief food to the three camps of Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley after the UN drastically slashed its budgetary allocation to the over 200,000 refuges in Dadaab, Garissa county.
Addressing the press after launching the exercise at Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab on Friday, Saad Almaget, an official from the King Salmani said they ‘were obliged to assist’ the refugees.
Almaget said the programme will run for the next 3 months and depending on the need, it may be extended further.
The 1,200 metric tons consignment that included rice, sugar, dates, salt, maize flour, beans and wheat flour will be distributed to 77,000 households and is expected to last for 3 months.
He said the needs assessment by the Kenya Red Cross revealed that pregnant women, lactating mothers, children with severe malnutrition, people living with disabilities and those that are HIV positive were the most vulnerable and required urgent assistance the most.
“We shall continue to monitor these needs and requirement closely with a view of either extending or increasing the supplies to these camps,” Amaget said.
“We will work closely with the Kenya Red Cross who have the capacity to distribute the huge consignments,” he added.
Kenya Red Cross North Eastern regional manager Salah Hassan said the food came at the right time since the refugee population in the area was currently facing acute shortage of food and financial resources.
“We welcome any bilateral and philanthropic support following the acute reduction in funding. This will be essential in complimenting the gaps,” Sahal said.
Rukia Ali, the chairlady of Ifo camp thanked the donors and urged other likeminded organizations to come on board and offer assistance of any kind.
Rukia said refugees in the camps were feeling the pinch following the shortfall in donor funding.
In October last year, the WFP announced it was cutting food rations by 30 per cent for inhabitants of the Kenyan camps due to insufficient donor funding.
On 10 November 2013, the governments of Kenya and Somalia together with the UNHCR signed a tripartite agreement to repatriate Somali refugees from Kenya to ‘safe areas’ in southern Somalia with a view of closing the camps in coming few years.