KAMPALA — More than 1.2million refugees in Uganda are at risk of disastrous hunger after a United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) said it is in a funding crisis, confirming, the agency may run out funds to provide them with food aid.
WFP said on Thursday that it immediately needs at least $16m every month to support the displaced refugees in Uganda with food assistance.
The plea was made at the WFP Warehouse in Nalukolongo, Kampala during the official handover of 4750 metric tons of rice consignment donated by the government of Japan.
Mr. El Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director made the plea following shortfalls in funding that might hinder the organization’s ability to offer food to refugees come end May 2020.
He said without support from donors, WFP will not have food to feed refugees as from May.
“As of now, we only have food enough until the end of May. And then, for cash, it is only enough until the end of the month (February 28),” he said.
WFP needs about USD 16 million a month to feed 1.2 milion refugees currently in settlement areas that include Kyaka II, Kyangwali, Rwamanja, Nakivale among others but the USD16 million is also for only one priority out of the WFP six priorities.
“If we don’t receive international community funding, then, we will only protect those who are vulnerable, single mothers, families with many kids, but this is a situation with most of the refugees,” he said.
El Khidir said on time if the agency doesn’t get the money, on time, it may be forced to again cut food rations.
He added: “If you give me cash today to buy food, and distribute it to the people, it is not possible, so you need at least two or three months ahead of the deadline. If we are to contain this situation, we need to procure food before the month ends and deliver it to the refugees,” he noted.
Japanese consignment delivered in October last year but that the biggest percentage was distributed on arrival but “it meant a lot from October to today.”
El Khidir issued a blunt and urgent appeal to donors, asking them to honour their commitments and warning that the situation would have a devastating effect on the lives of more than 1.2 million people.
Asked whether the government of Uganda has any plans of procuring food for the people of concern, Simon Gerald Menhya, the Commissioner for refugees at Office of Prime Minister said; “Uganda is part of the international community, we have played our part, but we are not solely responsible for these people.”
“Government has no plans for procuring the food to refugees,” he said noting that, “it is the role of the international community to provide the necessary funding.”
Uganda through the government of Japan made a contribution of in-kind rice to refugees. The rice contribution was a contribution Japanese government to the people OPM, which topped up UGX.2 billion in cash to meet the associated costs including transport, handling and storing food from donors.