By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed a contribution of 4,500 metric tons of rice by the Republic of Korea to provide food for 392,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
“The Republic of Korea has been a committed partner in Uganda, providing much-needed support as we have sought to sustain an operation assisting 1.27 million refugees in Uganda, 82 per cent of who are women and children,” said WFP Country Director El-Khidir Daloum.
Daloum said the new contribution was especially welcome as it will cover another one to two months of humanitarian assistance at a time when WFP has a US$86 million funding shortfall over the next six months for refugees. It therefore cannot rule out reducing refugees’ cash or food rations for a third time since April 2020.
The Republic of Korea, now WFP’s fourth-biggest donor to refugees in Uganda, has provided thousands of metric tons of rice annually since 2018. This enabled WFP to give vulnerable people fleeing conflict immediate, life-saving relief that stabilizes their food intake and nutritional well-being as they strive to re-start their lives in a new country.
WFP will distribute this latest contribution in the settlements of Adjumani, Imvepi, Kiryandongo, Palorinya and Rhino Camp to meet the refugees’ basic cereal needs in August and part of September.
“Uganda’s progressive refugee model is much appreciated internationally, which is why the Republic of Korea will continue to support refugees in the country through WFP and its sister UN agencies,” said Ambassador Ha Byung-Kyoo in Kampala.
Donors’ commitment to refugees in Uganda has never been more critical as WFP’s funding shortfall comes at a time when food security among refugees is declining.
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. This was mostly due to food shortages worsened by ration cuts that meant families borrowed food or ate fewer or smaller meals or had to decide who ate and who did not.
WFP was forced to reduce the refugees’ rations by 30 percent in April 2020, 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 refugees’ food security and means of coping, which greatly undermines Uganda’s aspirations for self-reliance among refugees.
Uganda currently hosts 1.47 million refugees, one of the largest refugee populations hosted by a single country. Nearly 90 percent of the refugees – 1.27 million – live in 13 rural settlements where they arrive with little to no assets. This leaves them heavily dependent on WFP.