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WFP Says Food Stocks in Uganda Disastrously Low

The World Food Program warns of disaster in Uganda as food stocks for hundreds of thousands of flood victims run low. The U.N. food agency says it has received a bad response to its recent appeal and has to dip into its emergency stock of food to assist these people. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva.

About 300,000 people are affected by the devastating floods in Uganda. The World Food Program, WFP, says acute malnutrition among children is rising.

WFP Spokesman Simon Pluess says poor farmers in 16 districts in eastern and northern Uganda and the drought-prone Karamoja region are suffering from the heaviest rains in decades.

"Many of the 300,000 affected farmers have lost up to 90 percent of their crops," he said. "The farmers should be planting by now. But, since the water has not receded, it means a delay for their planting and a delay for their harvest."

Three weeks ago, the World Food Program, WFP, appealed for $62 million to feed 1.7 million people until March 2008. A total of $19 million of that appeal is targeted for the specific food needs of the 300,000 flood victims.

WFP Spokesman Pluess says his agency has received only 10 percent of the amount in its flood appeal.

"That means we are quickly running out of food and we are forced to tap into the existing food reserves destined for the IDPs [internally displaced people] and refugees in Uganda," he added. "Our food supply line for a total of 1.7 million people in Uganda will break in December if no contributions come in."

Pluess says rations will have to be cut to prolong assistance to the needy.

The World Food Program says it also needs almost $4.5 million in cash. It says the money will provide trucks, boats, aircraft and emergency road and bridge repairs on behalf of the humanitarian community.

Pluess explains the World Food Program has helped thousands of hungry people and airlifted food and other supplies by helicopter to marooned people on behalf of other agencies.