Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Rwanda

June 4, 2018


Map of Rwanda
Map of Rwanda
  • As of March 2018, Rwanda hosts more than 177,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, primarily from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the UN. Much of the refugee population is almost entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their food needs, although the Rwandan Government recently decided to officially launch the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, an initiative that aims to reduce the dependency on donor funding and improve refugees’ livelihood opportunities.

  • At present, there are approximately 75,000 Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers in Rwanda, mainly residing in five camps around the country. In addition, an estimated 93,000 Burundians have found shelter in Rwanda, having fled political violence, unrest, and other shocks. In March 2018, more than 2,700 Burundians arrived in Rwanda.

  • Despite sustained support from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) and other international donors, the UN World Food Program (WFP) was compelled to reduce ration sizes to 90 percent in December 2017 and to 75 percent between January and April 2018, in order to stretch available resources to meet current and anticipated levels of need. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) reports that many refugees in Rwanda will face Stressed (IPC 2) levels of food insecurity through September, but would likely experience Crisis (IPC 3) levels of acute food insecurity without humanitarian assistance.*

  • Rainfall between March and May will likely drive average to above-average harvests in mid-2018, according to FEWS NET. In addition, food prices have stabilized since late 2017 and are slightly below early-2017 levels, facilitating access to food in markets. Most Rwandan households will therefore be able to meet their food needs and face Minimal (IPC 1) food insecurity through September. However, some vulnerable families in Eastern Province, where there were localized poor harvests in early 2018, may face Stressed levels of food insecurity during the lean season in April and May. Additionally, heavy rainfall in April triggered flooding and landslides, destroying nearly 10,000 houses, killing livestock and damaging approximately 9,500 acres of crops.  

*The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5).


  • With support from FFP, WFP distributes locally and regionally procured food assistance to refugee households in camps and refugee reception centers. Additionally, WFP provides cash-based transfers for food to refugees in the five camps accommodating Congolese refugees. WFP also implements nutrition programs in all camps for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition in children under 5 years of age and pregnant and lactating women. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to date, FFP has contributed $10 million to WFP to continue assistance to refugees in Rwanda and prevent further ration reductions.

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2018 $10 million 2,468 MT
Fiscal Year 2017 $11 million 8,286 MT
Fiscal Year 2016 $9.3 million 7,521 MT

*Metric tonnage does not reflect funding for vouchers or cash transfers.


Last updated: June 04, 2018

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