More than 860,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are likely to suffer another ration cut this year as the World Food Program runs short of funds.
The United Nations World Food Program says it is facing an 86-million-U.S. dollar funding shortfall for feeding 1.27 million refugees in Uganda over the next six months.
The food aid agency said in a statement issued Thursday that the funding shortfall came at a time when food security among refugees has been weakening in the East African country.
The agency said because of the shortfall, it cannot rule out the possibility of reducing the refugees’ cash or food rations for a third time since April 2020.
The WFP was forced to reduce the refugees’ rations by 30 percent in April 2020, and then by an additional 10 percent in February 2021 due to a decline in funding since 2019.
“The possibility of further cuts brings greater risks to the refugees’ food security and means of coping, which greatly undermines Uganda’s aspirations for self-reliance among the refugees,” the WFP statement said.
A WFP study in March found that 43 percent of refugee households had inadequate diets and more than half of all households reported using negative survival strategies.
The agency on Thursday welcomed a contribution of 4,500 metric tons of rice from South Korea. The food aid will be used to feed 392,000 South Sudanese refugees over the next one to two months, said the WFP.
Uganda currently hosts 1.47 million refugees from neighboring countries like South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Somalia.
The WFP provides the refugees with monthly relief assistance in the form of in-kind food or cash to meet their basic food needs. The level of assistance depends on funding availability.
According to the UN refugee agency, there are now over 2.2 million South Sudanese in exile, 860,000 of whom are hosted in Uganda, the world’s third-largest refugee-hosting nation.
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Published Friday, May 14, 2021
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