Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Food Cuts for Refugees AGAIN!!

On Sunday at church I asked Benjamin how his trip to the refugee camp was during the week. 
It was good but did I hear the latest? 
No... what was it? 

Food rations will be cut up to 40% starting with May. 


Now each refugee person receives the following per month.
12.3 kg maize (kernels / not ground)
3.6 kg dry beans
0.9 L cooking oil
600 g soap
150 g salt

Now this will be cut by 40%. 

There are three refugee camps in Rwanda which receive money each month instead of food... 6200 rwf ($7.43 USD) per person. 
They will now receive 2800 rwf ($3.35 USD) per person. 

That is 
3kg of sugar OR  
9 kg of potatoes OR 
5kg of dried beans OR 
5.5 kg of carrots OR 
2 kg of flour 

for the ENTIRE month! 

When I went online to see what I could find.... 
I found the following joint press release by the UN (United Nations) and the WFP (World Food Program) from February 20, 2017... 

I can't imagine a person surviving on less than they already are. 
My mind whirls at the repercussions of that - more malnutrition, crime, prostitution, etc.

Then I think of the refugee students who ITRwanda has sponsored - who have completed high school or are about to... and the few have complete university and have a job. 
They have broken the cycle and are able to support their families through these increasingly desperate times. 
I can't even imagine what the situations will be in camps dealing with Syrian and South Sudanese Refugees ... 

The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, are very concerned that critical shortages in food assistance are affecting some 2 million refugees in 10 countries across Africa.
The shortages could worsen in coming months without new resources to meet food needs.
The number of refugees in Africa nearly doubled from 2.6 million in 2011 to nearly 5 million in 2016. While donor funding for refugee assistance increased during this period, it did not keep pace with rapidly rising needs. As a result, the humanitarian response is significantly underfunded. This has forced cuts in food assistance for some groups of refugees.
The two agency heads warn that food shortages will have dire consequences on the health and protection of such vulnerable people, unless more support is urgently made available.
“We can’t imagine how difficult life is for thousands of refugee families with no food, and often denied the possibility to work or provide for themselves in other ways. Refugees are extraordinarily resilient, but cuts in food assistance – sometimes as high as 50 percent – are having a devastating impact on the health and nutrition of thousands of families,” said UNHCR’s Grandi. “The right to food is a basic human right. We are working with WFP to ensure that no refugee goes to sleep hungry, but support has to come quickly.”
Click to read the remainder of the release... 

Friday, 7 April 2017

The Quietest Day of the Year

Today is April 7th 
I woke up this morning to complete quietness. 

No people are walking and talking their way to work before dawn. 
Kids are not out playing an early morning football game. 
The last community drunk isn't wandering home and singing a song. 
Even the multitude of birds were not chattering away. 
The neighbourhood house help was not banging pots and pans as they were being washed 
No cars are moving 
No construction noises - dump trucks, no cement mixers, no teams of workers calling out to each other 
Even our dog Lucy rests. 

It's 9:47 am and a lone bird tweets. 

Today Rwanda remembers. 
Today marks 23 years. 
Today we reflect on the past, mourn with those who mourn and embrace the hope we have in the future. 

Never Again 

And yet ... around the world it is happening. Even today. 
That adds to the sadness of Rwanda. 

The genocide that happened here, was it not enough?