KAMPALA FEBRUARY 3, 2015(CISA)) – About 150,000 refugees living in Uganda start receiving reduced rations from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) due to insufficient funding.
According to WFP the ration cut of 50 percent, which began last week, came as the humanitarian organisation struggles to raise an additional US$30 million for its operations in Uganda for the next six months.
“Reducing rations is a last resort to ensure we can continue providing life-saving support for the most vulnerable refugees,” said WFP Country Director, Alice Martin-Daihirou in a statement sent to CISA.
“We urgently need more funding to restore full assistance to people in Uganda who have no means to feed themselves,” she added.
Those affected are people who arrived in Uganda before July 2013 – nearly half of all refugees receiving WFP food assistance in Uganda. It does not include 138,000 refugees who fled South Sudan since fighting broke out there in December 2013. Also exempted are extremely vulnerable individuals identified by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
If WFP fails to receive substantial contributions in the coming months however, the cuts could last for the next six months or longer and possibly even affect the new South Sudanese refugees.
Refugees have been notified through information sessions supported by UNHCR, WFP and the Ugandan government.
WFP requires US$7.6 million each month to support an estimated 383,000 refugees this year. The influx of South Sudanese refugees in the last 13 months has tripled the monthly funding requirement.
Without the reduction, WFP said it would run out of food stocks for all refugees in Uganda from April. The last time the amount of food given to refugees in Uganda was cut was January to March last year.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.