More than 435,000 refugees in Kenya face “imminent food shortages unless new funds are swiftly received,” the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday.

In a statement, the WFP appealed for $57 million in order to be able to continue providing food and nutrition assistance to the refugees between January and June, 2021.

“Without new funds, WFP will need to completely halt all cash transfers starting in January and by March, will have fully depleted its food stocks,” the statement said.

It noted that most refugee families rely solely on WFP food to survive.

“WFP is facing a critical shortage of funds to finance food assistance to refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps and in Kalobeyei settlement,” WFP Kenya Country Director Lauren Landis said.

“We have exhausted all resources and are frankly faced with a life-threatening crisis,” Landis added.

The WFP explained that funding shortfall has already forced it to cut full food rations by over one-third as of last September, “compromising refugees’ health and nutrition.”

“We are appealing to our donors to quickly provide new resources to allow us to carry on providing food and cash to the refugees. A disruption of this magnitude to the life-saving refugee operation would be catastrophic,” Landis said.

After Ethiopia, Kenya is regarded now as the second biggest refugee-hosting country in Africa. The eastern African country hosts refugees mainly from the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa region, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Most Somali refugees flee to Kenya’s northeastern Dadaab, located in Garissa County, while most people fleeing armed conflict in South Sudan arrive in Kenya’s northern Kakuma, the UNHCR said.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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