Tension mounts in Daadab refugee camp.

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Tension is mounting at northern Kenya's Daadab refugee camp where its occupants are threatening to stage a hunger strike to protest the drastic reduction of regular rations by the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
The local press reported Wednesday the over 120,000 refugees, including Tanzanians, recently boycotted meals, throwing officials from both WFP and UN High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR into near-panic.
The refugees are from also Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Rwanda.
The Tanzanians, including Members of Parliament, fled the Indian Ocean Islands of Zanzibar and Pemba early this year after the police put down an opposition demonstrations to protest allegedly flawed elections in October last year.
The refugees complained that the slash of the food rations by a third had led to an increase in cases of malnutrition among their children.
The refugees are housed mainly at the Lagdera, Ifo and Dagahaley camps and the Daadab transit camps in the north-eastern province.
Most of the refugees were quoted as saying they were being discriminated by the UNHCR which denied them the facilities offered to their counterparts in Europe and other parts of the country.
UNHCR's head at the Dadaab sub-office, Joseph Mwesiga, admitted that food rationing had been introduced because there was a shortage arising from to donor fatigue.
"For this reason, rations like wheat have been withdrawn until further notice," he explained Wednesday.
In the four hospitals at the camps, the French NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has introduced a supplementary feeding programme to curb malnutrition.
The number of children affected by malnutrition problems has risen from 400 to about 800 at three camps in the past one year alone.

06 june 2001 20:11:00

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