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Refugees Worldwide Face Rising Hunger Due to Funding Gaps Amidst Covid-19

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Child Poverty - Investors King

Significant funding shortfalls across East and Southern Africa, as well as the Middle East, have forced ration cuts upon some of the world’s most vulnerable people who rely on WFP food to survive.

In East Africa alone, almost three-quarters of refugees have had their rations cut by up to 50 percent. In Southern Africa, refugees in Tanzania who depend entirely on WFP assistance have had their rations cut by almost one-third.  Significant funding shortages for the Syria Regional Refugee Response mean 242,000 refugees in Jordan may be cut off from assistance at the end of August unless more funding is received.

“What we may be seeing is the impact of COVID-19 on donor government funding and this is negatively impacting our ability to respond and support some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Margot van der Velden, WFP Director of Emergencies. “The lives of the most marginalized people in the world are on the line and we are urging donors not to turn their backs on refugees when they need it most.”

To avoid any cuts in food assistance – either through reduced rations or excluding people from assistance altogether –sufficient funding is needed at least one month ahead of the expected break in the flow of food to the refugee-hosting countries.

The increasing funding gaps intersect with rising food prices and fewer opportunities for refugees to supplement their food assistance as informal economies shrink due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Meanwhile, the number of people in desperate need is on the rise globally as conflict, disasters and economic meltdowns are driving up levels of hunger. WFP and other humanitarian agencies face brutal choices. In Rwanda, WFP has rolled out targeted food assistance prioritizing those most in need. Despite this, funding is so short that even the most vulnerable still aren’t receiving full rations, which come in the form of cash assistance.

“During COVID-19 lockdown, we couldn’t leave the camp and we couldn’t earn anything as all casual work outside the camp stopped,” said Ange, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in Rwanda. “The situation got worse when our food ration was reduced. My family started facing a serious food shortage.”

Some of the most underfunded WFP operations are also ones with significant refugee populations requiring support. For example, in Uganda WFP supports more than 1.2 million refugees which is 65 percent of the country operations. A country funding shortfall of more than 80 percent has had significant impacts on refugees who rely on WFP assistance.

As a new WFP report indicates a surge in people teetering on the brink of famine – which has risen from 34 million projected at the beginning of the year to 41 million projected as of June – it’s vital that the world steps forward to support the most vulnerable.

WFP refugee operations impacted by funding shortages:

Chad: New refugee influxes from Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) mean WFP may be forced to implement ration cuts and suspend/prioritize activities that will affect vulnerable groups depending on WFP’s support, particularly malnourished children.

Cameroon:  WFP may be required to reduce the food rations for the most vulnerable beneficiaries, including 70,000 Nigerian and 100,000 CAR refugees.

Democratic Republic of Congo: In 2021, WFP has supported about 148,000 camp-based refugees in DRC, including the recent influx of about 92,000 refugees from CAR. Since May 2020, WFP DRC has been applying an average of 25% ration cuts to its refugee assistance programme.

East Africa: Funding shortfalls have forced ration cuts for over 3 million refugees of up to 60%. Rations were cut by 50% in South Sudan, 40% in Uganda and Kenya, 23% in Djibouti, 16% in Ethiopia and 8% in Rwanda.

Malawi: Under its refugee response, WFP Malawi rolled out cash-based transfers and kick-started livelihood support activities to enhance self-reliance for refugees. However, funding shortfalls have led to a 25% ration cut since July 2020.

Republic of Congo: WFP provides assistance to more than 20,000 refugees from CAR. Significant shortfalls have meant that food distribution cycles have been irregular.

Syria Refugee Regional: In the five countries where WFP supports Syrian refugees, USD 408 million is required for the next six months.

  • In Jordan, at least 21,000 refugees will no longer receive WFP’s food assistance starting 1 July. If no additional funding materializes, WFP will have to cut off an additional 242,000 refugees at the end of August. Around 220,000 extremely vulnerable refugees in camps and communities will continue to receive WFP support through September.
  • In Egypt, WFP – through joint targeting with UNHCR – is looking at prioritizing assistance to 110,000 people, reducing the number of beneficiaries by 20,000.

Tanzania: The WFP refugee operation faced significant funding shortfalls leading to ration cuts of up to 32 percent of the minimum calorie requirement since December 2020. Photos available here.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Emirates Lands In Nigeria In Style

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Emirates has today touched down in both Abuja and Lagos, marking the restart of daily services to Nigeria from Dubai. It received a spectacular water canon welcome at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos. 

Both flights from Dubai, EK 785 to Abuja and EK 783 to Lagos, were welcomed to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and Murtala Muhammed International Airport with water cannon salutes. Upon arrival, a cake cutting ceremony was also held between Emirates officials and the airport authorities to mark the resumption of operations.

Paulos Legesse, Country Manager Nigeria said: “We are delighted to resume operations to and from Nigeria, and are pleased to see strong interest from our customers, reflected in robust forward bookings from the time of our announcement, as well as today’s full flights from Dubai to Abuja and Lagos. The services will also give our customers the opportunity once again to safely experience Emirates’ superior product and service, offering them convenient travel options to Dubai, an already popular destination for Nigerian travellers, as well as seamless connectivity other key cities across our network.”

The aircraft being deployed to both Nigerian cities is the three class Boeing 777-300ER which offers 8 luxurious First Class suites, 42 generous Business Class seats, and over 300 seats in Economy Class.

Customers across all classes were able to enjoy the airline’s regional delicacies onboard, as well as its renowned in-flight entertainment system, ice, featuring over 4,500 channels of on-demand entertainment, including Nollywood films and content.

Emirates operates to Abuja with EK 785 and 786. EK 785 departs Dubai at 1100hrs, arriving in Abuja at 1540hrs. The return flight, EK 786 takes off from Abuja at 1900, arriving in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day. Emirates flight EK 783 to Lagos departs Dubai at 1030hrs, arriving in Lagos at 1540hrs. The return flight EK 784 departs Lagos at 1810hrs, arriving in Dubai at 0415hrs the next day.

Travelling to Dubai: Ensuring the safety of travellers, visitors, and the community, Covid-19 PCR tests are mandatory for all inbound passengers arriving to Dubai, including UAE citizens, residents and tourists, irrespective of the country they are coming from. Travellers coming from Nigeria must hold a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

Additionally, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has specified designated laboratories for passengers departing Nigeria and travellers must obtain their certificate from one of the labs listed here to be accepted on the flight. Travellers coming from Nigeria will also need to take another Covid-19 PCR test on arrival at Dubai International Airport.

Since it safely resumed tourism activity in July 2020, Dubai remains one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, especially during the winter season. The city is open for international business and leisure visitors. From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world class hospitality and leisure facilities,

Dubai offers a variety of world-class experiences. It was one of the world’s first cities to obtain Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubai’s comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety.

Dubai is currently hosting the world for Expo 2020, happening between October 2021 and March 2022. Through the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, Expo 2020 Dubai aims to inspire people by showcasing the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world.

Its programme is packed with experiences to suit all ages and interests, including a rich line-up of themed weeks, entertainment, and edutainment. Art and culture fans as well as food and technology enthusiasts can explore exhibits, workshops, performances, live shows and more.

Emirates continues to lead the industry with innovative products and services and recently took its customer care initiatives further with  even more flexible booking policies which have been extended to 31 May 2022.

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Npower Latest News: Npower Payment Update as at December 2

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Npower

The Npower programme has been under a lot of criticism lately for its inability to pay the programme’s beneficiaries their stipends since September. This article will be providing updates concerning the programme, payment of stipends and other updates concerning it.

Earlier in the week, the National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS) posted on its Facebook page that there had been a reversal of payment status. NASIMS apologized for the incident, saying that the reversal was caused partly by instability in network, causing it to bounce back after waiting days to “clinch the next payment process has elapsed.” They stated that they were working on resolving it, and all qualified beneficiaries would be paid eventually.

Then on Thursday, NASIMS addressed a Facebook post to the unpaid beneficiaries of Batch C1. The post informed beneficiaries that payment of the outstanding September stipend had begun.

This comes at a period when the affected beneficiaries are going through a frustrating period, considering the economic situation of the country (with rising prices of food and other products) approaching the festive period. It will come as a relief to many that at least one part of the outstanding payments has commenced, when the demand for the payment has been high in recent weeks.

NASIMS then implored the beneficiaries to continue monitoring their accounts closely, in case they are credited with their stipends without receiving any alerts. The Management System also confirmed that correction of any issues associated with payment is still ongoing, and once again assured the beneficiaries that all those concerned and qualified will be paid.

After posting the update concerning the September payment, NASIMS went ahead to speak concerning the October and November stipend payments. The Management System once again stated that in order to avoid false information, beneficiaries should bear in mind that the payment of the October and November stipends have not started.

NASIMS said that it was still working on issues concerning payment and hoped to settle everything as soon as possible.

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Npower Payment: NASIMS Talks Payment of October and November Stipends

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Npower

The National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS) has released an update concerning the payment of the Npower October and November stipends to the Batch C volunteers of the Npower programme. The failure to pay the stipends has launched quite the discourse concerning the efficacy of the programme.

In a Facebook post, NASIMS addressed the lack of payment, responding to the enquiries of some beneficiaries. These beneficiaries had previously repeatedly made attempts to find out exactly when the payments for October and November would be commencing.

NASIMS first moved to clarify how the payment process works, explaining that the payment procedure is not quick and it takes time. The group stated that the account would need to be validated before anything else, after which the bank account details would be forwarded to the Central Bank of Nigeria, who will in turn send out the required stipends to the financial institutions.

The Facebook post closed with NASIMS saying that they are not aware of an exact date on which the payment of the October and November stipends will commence, but mentioned that they are sure that the payment process will be starting anytime soon.

Also, the Federal Government – through NASIMS – has told the beneficiaries of Batch C to provide their Bank Verification Numbers if they are yet to do so, as the BVN is necessary for account validation. The Federal Government also confirmed that if payment status reflects as ‘Pending’ on the dashboard, it means that the account has been successfully validated.

At this stage, beneficiaries are to simply be patient and wait for the payment to be made.

NASIMS also stated that its attention has been drawn to a ridiculous post going around social media, concerning the commencement of Batch C2 selection. The post announced that the Batch C2 of the Npower programme had begun and individuals would need to pay N4500 to be enlisted.

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