Addis Ababa, September 30, 2023 (SSNA) — South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia are dying of severe hunger and malnutrition every day due to shortages of food, according to local refugee officials.
Officials said camp residents have gone for months without food and that the World Food Program (WFP) failed to respond to their requests.
“We have a huge problem here beyond our control. People are dying every single day because of lack of food. We do not know why the UN is letting refugees die,” one local official who works in Pugnido refugee camp two told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) on Saturday.
“We heard from a lot of Ethiopian people that there is a problem between the Administration for Refugee & Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and the UN. We do not know what it is, but they said it is the cause of why refugees are not receiving food for months,” the source explains.
Adding, “We are burying people every day and they died because they have no food to eat. This problem needs to be communicated to people in UN headquarters in New York that South Sudanese refugees are dying of hunger here in Ethiopia.”
It is not clear what caused the WFP not to deliver food to refugees. However, an Ethiopian official with ARRA who asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal told the South Sudan News Agency that the World Food Program has accused the Administration for Refugee & Returnee Affairs of misusing budget destined for refugees or refugee food items.
The SSNA has received confirmation from a WFP source in Addis Ababa that the United Nations has indeed accused Ethiopian authorities of mismanaging refugees’ foods and other necessary items. The same official disclosed that the problem also affected South Sudanese refugees in other camps in and around the Gambella regional State.