The World Food Programme (WFP) says refugees in Uganda will have to make do with only 60 percent of a full food ration from February next year due to funding shortfall.
Food rations for 1.26 million refugees in the East African country had been reduced by 30 percent in April, when the country was on lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
WFP immediately needs US$95.8 million to provide full rations to refugees in Uganda, which hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa, over the next six months, the UN agency said in a statement.
‘Covid-19 must not be an excuse for the world to turn its back on refugees at this terrible time’, WFP Country Director El-Khidir Daloum said.
‘We appreciate that donors fully funded our refugee operation in Uganda in 2019 but right now we are unable to keep up even basic food assistance and the poorest will suffer the most as we have to cut still further’.
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis (June–December 2020) found that refugees in all 13 settlements in Uganda faced acute food insecurity.
According to the survey, the current 30 percent ration cut and the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns are major contributors to hunger in all 13 refugee settlements.
What this development means is that the most vulnerable women, children and the elderly are increasingly at risk of becoming malnourished, which can in turn impact their immune systems and make them more likely to be infected by disease, amid a pandemic.
Urgent additional aid, according to WFP, is therefore needed to support the government of Uganda.
WFP commended the government for continuing to host refugees and seeking to meet its obligations under the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).
Photo source: WFP