The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday received 5 million U.S. dollars in food aid from the Chinese government in Kakuma refugees camp in northen Kenya.
The money was used to buy 9,000 tonnes of cereals for 420,000 refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma refugees camps. After more than a year of ration cuts caused by funding shortage, new donor contributions from China and other countries have allowed WFP to resume full food rations for 4 months.
"We welcome this critical contribution from China as WFP has struggled to provide adequate food to refugees living in camps in food-insecure northern Kenya due to insufficient funds," said Annalisa Conte, WFP's Country Director and Representative for Kenya.
Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador in Kenya, said China has responded quickly to the appeals of the international community for support to the refugees.
"We have provided relief materials or cash aid as needed. At the same time, China has within its capacity rendered support to the assistance programs initiated by multilateral development organizations, and has exchanged experience in an increasingly open-minded manner," Liu said.
Ceaser Okulo Unu, a refugee from Uganda lining up for the food aid, said he was happy that WFP resumed full food rations.
"I thank China for its generous donation, which will allow the WFP to give us more food and make our hard life a bit easier," said Unu.
Kenya has the second largest refugee population in Africa. The East African country hosts over 600,000 registered refugees, the majority fleeing conflict in Somalia and South Sudan, who mostly live in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.
In Kenya, refugees can not work outside the refugee camps and with limited sources of income, they are heavily dependent on WFP for food. Refugees collect a general food ration which consists of cereals, pulses, vegetable oil, salt and a nutrient-enriched flour made from soya and maize.