Shortage of funds forces UN to cut down food aid to Bhutanese refugees

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Kathmandu, Oct. 18 (ANI): A shortage in UN funding may force thousands of Bhutanese refugees living in camps in Nepal cut down on their meals.

BBC quoted a senior official from the World Food Programme (WFP) as saying that the UN are forced to cut food aid to refugees due to lack of adequate resources.

"We are extremely concerned about the consequences of reduced rations on the health of the refugees," WFP Nepal chief Richard Ragan said in a statement.

"Without their full ration, the most vulnerable refugees will be forced to eat fewer meals or decrease portion sizes, leading to reduced nutritional status," he added.

More than 90,000 Nepali-speaking Bhutanese people have been in refugee camps in Nepal since the early 1990s.

They are dependent on food aid to meet their basic needs.

The mainly Hindu people fled Bhutan 18 years ago, alleging human rights abuses and discrimination.

Bhutan, which maintains that most left voluntarily, has never allowed any to return to the country.

Since the refugees living in eastern Nepal have no right to work in the country, the World Food Programme has been providing rice, lentils and other foodstuffs to them.

Ragan said the programme needed to secure an additional four-million-dollar from donors to prevent more cuts and continue feeding the refugees into January next year.

Under a resettlement scheme, over 20,000 have already left the camps for Western countries.

The UN says it could take up to five years to complete this scheme and has called for urgent funding to continue feeding the refugees. (ANI)

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