BY JORDAN SIMEON-PHIRI
Karonga district refugees transit shelter vice president Melki Simon has said the people at the holding shelter have gone two months without receiving food rations from the government.
Simon made the stunning revelations on Saturday, Christmas Day when one of the sons of Karonga, Undule Mwakasungula donated assorted food items to the 80 refugees being sheltered at the waiting shelter.
He said: “Life at this place has been unbearable as we have gone two months without receiving food from government. Life is tough taking into consideration that this is not our home country and we are grateful for these food items which have come at the right time”.
In an interview, Department for Refugees Karonga District Field Officer Msanjo Ngoma said the food situation at the shelter is dire, saying World Food Program which is mandated to supply food is also challenged.
He said: “United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) funds government which in turn hired World Food Program (WFP) to supply food for refugees. However, the food basket is not enough as every refugee is supposed to get 13.5kg of maize flour per month, 1.5kg of beans per month, 830ml of cooking oil per month, 1.5kg of likuni phala per month, 150 grams of salt, and 600 grams of sugar per month which is not enough rendering them to beggars for them to survive”.
However, Karonga District UNHCR Field Associate/Protection officer Themba Nyambose referred us to WFP spokesperson Lumbani Msiska who asked for more time before commenting on the matter.
Ministry of Homeland Security spokesperson Andrew Nyondo feigned ignorance on the matter and asked for more time to crosscheck with relevant authorities.
Speaking to the media after the donation, Mwakasungula said the motivation to share the gifts emanated from the birth of Jesus Christ whom he described as the fountain of love to human kind.
“As we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, I decided to share these gifts because one of the teachings of Jesus is to help the needy. So, that’s why today I am here because they are vulnerable and they need our moral and material support for them to feel loved and I am pretty sure that others will also be inspired to do the same”, he said.
The donated items included five bags of maize, two bales of sugar, soap, juice, snacks and bread.