ADDIS ABEBA – The United Nations refugee agency says it’s facing a critical funding shortfall to meet the needs of refugees in Ethiopia.
The East African nation is a home for the second-largest refugee population in Africa, with the latest report from the agency claiming that the country hosts 905,831 refugees and asylum seekers.
The UN refugee agency says, despite working with a big refugee population, it is having a critical gap in funding its works of supporting refugees in Ethiopia.
It has so far received 54.2 million U.S. dollars out of the total 292.2 million USD the agency appealed to donors to meet the basic needs of refugees, indicates a fact sheet a UN High Commission for Refugees Ethiopian office released this week.
The issue is contributing to the increase in malnutrition rate in refugee communities.
Fourteen of the 26 refugee camps already covered by the standard nutrition surveys have shown a global actuate malnutrition rate that is above the 15 percent threshold, according to UNHCR.
The agency attributed this to an “increase in the use of negative coping mechanisms”.
These mechanisms include reducing the quantity and frequency of meals which may be a result of the extended ration cuts since November 2017 and the general increase in commodity prices in the market.
Most of the refugees in the camps are from Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia, and Sudan. Conflict and drought in neighboring countries continue to force people to seek refuge in Ethiopia, which has a long tradition of hosting refugees.