The World Food Program says for the second time in a year, it will have to cut food rations for more than one million refugees in Uganda due to a shortage of cash.
The U.N.’s food agency is running a shortfall of nearly $96 million for its refugee operation in Uganda. It says no refugees will go hungry if international donors dig deeply into their pockets and come up immediately with the cash the agency needs to feed them.
Otherwise, World Food Program spokesman Tomson Phiri warns, 1.26 million refugees will have their monthly relief cash and food rations cut by 40 percent. He says these cuts go into effect in February.
“Most refugees have fled conflict from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Burundi,” said Phiri. "While this year has been particularly hard for everyone, it has been incredibly difficult for refugees.”
The anticipated cuts will further weaken an already vulnerable population. The WFP received only half the money it needed for its humanitarian operation this past year, so it was obliged to cut rations in April.
This coincided with the COVID-19 lockdown, which increased the need for more assistance.
The next cut in rations will leave most refugees on a diet of less than 1,300 calories per day.
“While appealing to donors for urgent funding, WFP will strive to maintain life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable groups, such as the malnourished, children as well as pregnant and nursing women but, we fear there are many whom we might not be able to help,” said Phiri.
Phiri says hunger is on the rise in all 13 refugee settlements in Uganda. He says an analysis of the food situation between June and December finds refugees face acute levels of food insecurity.