Mahama (Rwanda): more than a thousand refugees have not received a ration for three months

Mahama (Rwanda): more than a thousand refugees have not received a ration for three months

More than a thousand people including mostly Burundian refugees have no ration for three months. Normally distributed monthly, the ration is given as money in Rwandan currency on beneficiaries’ bank cards. Those concerned ask the Rwandan ministry in charge of refugees to find a solution to this problem. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

It is time to collect the monthly cash ration at Mahama camp in Rwanda for January 2023. But more than a thousand refugees are still waiting to be served for three months, to no avail.

“Imagine that I and my family of five have had nothing to eat since end of November. They owe me a three-month ration , other compatriots are two months in arrears. Worse still, the WFP hardly listens to us” , denounce a father. He and other heads of household stand in a line, in front of a bank agent in Mahama and desperately found their card was not yet topped up.

Most of those whose names are not on the list are from social category I and category II. A refugee from the first group must receive 7,000 Rwandan francs (about 7 USD), the second receives half of this sum.

Social categorization is made according to vulnerability criteria pre-established by UNHCR and the host government.

“We are tired because we are on our own. We complain to the UNHCR, which sends us back to the WFP. The World Food Program in turn handed us over to the Equity bank hosting our money. And the bank tells us that it hasn ‘t yet had our list from the WFP, we go to the agents of Equity Bank in Kabeza who always tell us the same thing: we can’t find you in the system”, lament the refugees who confided in SOS Médias Burundi.

In mid-December 2022, the CBDH/VICAR, a coalition that campaigns for the rights of refugees, was alarmed and tried to find out more by asking the Equity Bank to clear up the ambiguities.

“The bank replied that it is working to synchronize its system in order to pay these refugees”, suggested Léopold Sharangabo, vice-president of this coalition.

A month later, the problem is still not solved. Worse still, the list of aggrieved beneficiaries is growing every month.

“This shows that we are neglected. Whether it is the UNHCR, the WFP or the Equity bank which won the contract to serve the refugees in Cash, all these partners are accomplices and responsible for our misery”, charges the occupants of Mahama.

They ask the Rwandan ministry for refugees to resolve this situation which worsens their living conditions and which, they say, risks pushing them to take “a bad decision of forced repatriation”.

The Mahama camp located further east in Rwanda currently has more than 45,000 refugees, mostly Burundians, the rest being Congolese.

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