KAMPALA: The US. embassy through its oversee aid arm, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a $16 million (Shs47b) relief aid package to the World Food Programme (WFP) regional office to support refugees problems
The information assistant at the embassy, Dorothy Nanyonga, in a statement issued today (Wednesday) said the package will also be used to address food shortage challenges in the Karamoja sub region.
USAID Uganda Mission Director Leslie Reed explained that the donation “is a combination of traditional in-kind food aid and local and regional procurement that directly benefits local Ugandan famers. Due to recent food aid reforms, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace is able to purchase commodities on the local market, helping both people in need as well as local businesses.”
WFP currently provides food assistance to approximately 300,000 refugees living in settlements throughout Uganda. The UN body also caters for another 155,000 people in the semi-arid Karamoja redion
“This contribution comes at a crucial time when WFP has more beneficiaries to feed with already stretched resources,” WFP’s acting country representative Michael Dunford said.
Uganda is home to about 130,000 refugees from South Sudan, who fled hostilities between President Salva Kirr’s SPLA government forces and forces loyal to former Vice President Dr Riek Machar, since December 15 2013 yet more continue to cross the border to Uganda which represents a challenge.
According to UN sources, the conflict which has since bloomed along tribal lines between Kiir’s ethnic Dinka and Machar’s Nuer, has claimed over 10,000 lives, displaced close to 1.8 million and half a million forced to neighbouring countries.
Mr Dunford added that, the package will enable them “to ensure refugees and food-insecure people in Karamoja have food at the most critical times of the year.”
WFP estimates that the latest contribution will enable feeding of more than 440,000 people including over 130,000 South Sudanese refugees who have arrived since December 2013 for a period of about eight months.
The UN agency for refugees, United High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in a separate statement said it will require up to Shs500 billion ($181m million) to sustain the refugees in 2015.