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10.09.2013 International

'Refugees may not have food by December'

By Daily Graphic
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He was speaking in an interview after the opening of a six-day training programme by the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) and Italy's Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna to train participants to handle issues of refugees to meet international best practice.

With the world's humanitarian efforts shifting to Syria, the current refugee hot spot in the world, Mr Dzirasah was hopeful that by December, other arrangements would be made to continue the humanitarian support to the refugees.

Currently, there are about 8,000 refugees in Ghana from 29 countries, including Cote d'voire, The Sudan, Togo, Sierra Leone and Iraq.

According to the UN, funding shortfalls affecting the World Food Programme, coupled with the continuous influx of refugees in need of material assistance, forced the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to reduce by about a third, since April 2012, its monthly food supply to the refugees.

The critical needs of refugees status include shelter, water, sanitation, health and education.

Mr Dzirasah said refugee statusĀ  came with several situations which included the need to provide health, education and security while at the same time the refugees sometimes became a threat to national security.

He, however, said Ghana had so far handled its refugee situation well in spite of the challenges that came with it.

At the opening of the training programme, the Director of the LECIAD, Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, noted that 'how a society treats its vulnerable is the real measure of its level of civilisation'.

The Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Laura Carpini, for her part, said the training was a core aspect of the Italian government's foreign policy.

'We hope to build a hub of knowledge and competence to enable people to acquire skills necessary for humanitarian and refugee situations,' she said.

By Seth J. Bokpe/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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