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Food Distribution in Rwanda Has Improved

December 3, 1993



The article ``Refugee Relief in Rwanda Stymied by Fraud, Abuse, Inappropriate Donations,'' Nov. 5, is misleading.

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The problem of food resales by local authorities and by beneficiaries themselves has improved significantly since the author was here in August.

The government of Rwanda provided computerized beneficiary lists that have enabled the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Food Program to eliminate some 450,000 false recipients. The quantity of relief food distributed has also been reduced now that more than 500,000 people have returned to their homes in the demilitarized zone.

The fact that relief food is much more specifically targeted to those in need is demonstrated by the improvement in the level of malnutrition of children under age five in the camps. The October report by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health indicates that malnutrition rates have fallen significantly. The present level is not higher than the general national average of Rwanda. The nutritional situation has improved to such an extent that nongovernmental organizations working in this sector are closing down some centers.

I sincerely hope that Rwanda will continue to receive support from the international community as it faces its newest burden of almost 400,000 refugees from Burundi. Joseph Kabore Kigali, Rwanda Director of Operations, World Food Program

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