* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
NAIROBI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed contributions from Sweden and Finland of US$6.9 million (45,000,000 SEK) and US$ 1.3 million (€1,000,000) respectively to support refugees in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in Kenya as well as the Kenyan host community.
"Sweden is the world's fourth largest humanitarian donor and we are happy to work with WFP to provide necessary food assistance to the refugees in Kenya. We are also concerned about environmental protection and our support therefore includes funding to fuel-efficient stoves for the refugees and the host community," said Johan Borgstam, Swedish Ambassador to Kenya.
"The government of Finland firmly supports WFP's efforts in the fight against hunger and will continue partnering with the organization in this noble mission," said Sofie From-Emmesberger, Ambassador of Finland to Kenya.
The two countries contributed in response to a joint appeal for urgent donations to the refugee programme in Kenya made by WFP and UNHCR in November last year. WFP faced severe funding shortfalls that led to temporary cuts in food rations for the 480,000 refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma.
"I would like to thank the governments of Sweden and Finland for their substantial contributions at a time when we were experiencing severe funding difficulties for the refugee programme in Kenya. Having been forced to reduce food rations for the refugees by 20 per cent in November and December, the generosity of Sweden, Finland and others who responded to our appeal meant WFP resumed full rations for the refugees in January," said Ronald Sibanda, WFP's Kenya Country Director.
Besides providing food assistance to the refugees, the funding from Sweden enables WFP to give fuel-efficient stoves to 3,500 families in Dadaab and Kakuma. Wood is the main fuel for cooking in the camps and the stoves help protect the environment through reducing wood consumption.
With 480,000 refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma, Kenya hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world. Since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in mid-December last year, Kakuma has received some 16,000 new arrivals. An average of 300 people, mostly women and children, arrive daily at the camp.
# # #
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. On average, WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries each year.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @wfp_africa
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org): Rose Ogola, WFP/Nairobi, Tel. + 254 20 762 2301, Mob. +254 707 722 161