Over 20,000 refugees face starvation in Namibia

Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- More than 20,000 refugees at the Osire Refugee Camp in Namibia are facing starvation, the World Food Programme (WFP) office in Namibia has confirmed.
WPF Programme Officer, Penelope Howarth, told PANA Sunday that the world body has only received 30 percent of the funds required to supply food to the refugees in the camp for this year.
Howarth said most of the refugees are Angolans who have fled the ongoing civil war in that country.
The shortfall in funding has forced the UN agency to reduce monthly food allocations of 2,100 kilocalories by 20 percent, the sources said.
WFP Namibia has appealed to international donors to help minimise the situation of hunger that is facing the refugees at Osire.
Refugees fleeing to Namibia arrive weak and exhausted due to malaria and gastric disorders combined with low food intake, she said.
"This leaves many refugees, especially children under the age of five, suffering from malnutrition," Howarth stated.
She said health conditions could also deteriorate further if supplementary feeding programmes for the refugees are suspended due to lack of funding.
The WFP Country Director in Angola, Ronald Sibanda, who controls the agency's emergency operations for Angolan refugees in Namibia, also said that WFP faces the danger of food shortage in Angola.
He said rations would have to be cut even further if the donor community does not respond urgently.
The US and Swedish governments have so far donated 330,000 and 96,000 US dollars, respectively, which would take the period up to August.
WFP has been providing food to the refugees at Osire since April 2000 when the Namibian government appealed to the agency it to help cater for the increasing refugee population.
Food rations are being provided in the form of maize meal, pulses, Soya blend, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.

07 may 2001 10:00:00

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