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WFP Halves Food for Refugees in Burundi

FILE: A World Food Program (WFP) field monitor assistant conducts a food security survey with a Burundian resident in Bihogo village in northern Burundi. Taken April 4, 2012.

NAIROBI - Food aid rations for refugees in Burundi, mostly Congolese fleeing violence in eastern DRC, will be halved from April 1, the World Food Program (WFP) announced Thursday, citing a lack of funding.

"More than 56,000 Congolese refugees will soon receive only half the food rations they need, due to a dwindling of funding for food needs in five camps in Burundi." the UN agency said in a statement.

"While we appreciate the support received so far, we urgently need US$7.1million to feed the 56,000 refugees with full rations for the next 6 months. The refugees are extremely vulnerable," said WFP Burundi representative Housainou Taal.

According to UN refugees agency UNHCR, the landlocked African country in the Great Lakes region is currently hosting some 85,000 refugees and asylum seekers.

The majority of the refugees come from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, which is in the grip of a rebellion in the east of the country.

The WFP said that up to now it has given each refugee cash or food equivalent to $0.55 to cover a daily caloric requirement of 2,100 kilocalories.

The WFP is facing funding shortfalls and soaring food prices, partly due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.