The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday received a contribution of US$9 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide food assistance for more than 320,000 refugees living in Uganda.
“This generous contribution has arrived just in time, as a funding shortfall was threatening to force WFP to reduce rations for refugees, including the new South Sudanese arrivals,” said acting Country Director Michael Dunford in a press release.
“Those cuts will not be necessary now, and we are extremely grateful to USAID for its lifesaving support for people fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries and seeking refuge in Uganda.”
Dunford said WFP will use the funding, received through USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, to purchase more than 13,000 metric tons of cereals and beans within Uganda for more than 300,000 refugees.
The support will also allow WFP to provide cash to 20,000 refugees in areas where markets are able to meet the demand. As well as meeting the immediate food needs of refugees, cash assistance has the added benefit of allowing some flexibility for the refugees to buy nutritious foods that may not be part of WFP’s food basket and to manage their household food resources themselves.
This contribution brings USAID’s 2015 WFP support to refugees in Uganda and extremely vulnerable populations in Karamoja to an estimated US$26 million.
Uganda currently hosts more than 490,000 refugees, mostly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Burundi and roughly two-thirds of the refugees in Uganda depend on WFP to meet their basic food needs.
WFP’s assistance for refugees is closely coordinated with the Government of Uganda through the Office of the Prime Minister, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and stakeholder NGOs.