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NAIROBI: Food aid rations for refugees in Burundi, mostly Congolese fleeing violence in eastern DR Congo, will be halved from April 1, the World Food Programme (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.

According to the UN refugees agency, the 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 neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, which is in the grip of a rebellion in the east of the country.

The World Bank ranks Burundi as the poorest nation in the world in terms of GDP per capita.

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 refugees “will soon receive only half the food rations they need,“ the UN agency said.

“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 the WFP’s Burundi representative Housainou Taal.

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

In Bangladesh, the WFP has already reduced food rations for the Rohingya refugees.

Earlier this month, the agency warned that it requires more than double the money raised in Yemen this year to reinstate full food rations for millions in need. -AFP