Mahama (Rwanda): ration quotas revised upwards for some refugees

Mahama (Rwanda): ration quotas revised upwards for some refugees

The monthly amount in currency allocated to each refugee in the Mahama camp increases from 7,000 Frw (7 USD) to 10,000 Frw (10 USD) for the poorest (Social Category I) and from 3,500 Frw to 5,000 Frw for other refugees (social category II).Reactions among refugees are mixed. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The WFP explains this improvement in the living conditions of Burundian and Congolese refugees in the Mahama camp by the high cost of living.

“Given the rise in market prices in Mahama camp and its surroundings, WFP has consulted with UNHCR and Minema, the ministry for refugees. They then decided to increase a monthly contribution in currency allocated to each refugee”, explains a press release widely distributed and commented at the Mahama camp located further east in Rwanda. It was released on Tuesday.

“The amount increases from Frw 7,000 (USD 7) to Frw 10,000 (USD 10) for the poorest (Social Category I) and from Frw 3,500 (USD 3.5) to Frw 5,000 (USD 5) for other refugees (Social Category II). Food is not concerned by this increase, nor the nutrition program for children or school children fed at school, ”explains Claude Kalisa, head of WFP at the Mahama camp, in his press release.

This new change to the refugee household basket begins to apply immediately from February.

Mixed reactions…

For members of social categories I and II considered to be more destitute and vulnerable in the first degree according to UNHCR criteria, they are jubilant.

However, refugees of the third category are grumbling.

“We have long denounced these categorizations of refugees, yet living in the same camp and having the same status. And then these criteria were badly established or badly applied in such a way that there were several complaints,” they say.

“So why not take this sum which is added for the first two categories and give it to us who receive nothing. This is really unacceptable but we can’t do anything about it, because even the Bible says that we will give to the one who has and he will be in abundance, but to the one who does not have, we will take away even what he has ”, they lament.

Double standards…

“Did the prices only gone up for refugees in the first two categories? Isn’t the market the same for all of us? So, can’t you see that the PAM only solves part of the problem! It’s unfair”, denounces a large part of the refugees.

“The WFP risks to create social discord because it seems that some are well taken care of while others are left to themselves”.

These improvements benefit large households as every refugee, even a child under five, is considered for payment.

The same illustrative example is always given: a family with ten members who will have 100,000 Frw (about 100 USD) while an individual will only have 10,000 Frw (10 USD).

The refugees who have confided in SOS Médias Burundi are asking local leaders to plead for them. They seem to appreciate the work of the media.

“Recently the issue of people missing their names on the payment list for three months has come up in the media and on social media. And two days later, the lists were well done. For the moment everyone has had their ration, even the three-month arrears have been settled. Long live the press”, underline several refugees in the Mahama camp.

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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