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Japan donates 2,000 metric tonnes of rice to refugees in Uganda

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Japan has donated 2,000 metric tonnes of rice to 50,000 newly arriving refugees in Uganda. The rice, worth $2.2 million, was received by the World Food Programme (WFP).

WFP supports 1.4 million out of the 1.5 million refugees in Uganda with monthly food and cash assistance, but the gap between humanitarian needs and funding availability has grown steadily in recent years. WFP in Uganda requires $134 million to support refugees in 2024.

In the face of limited resources, WFP is now prioritising the most vulnerable refugees for food assistance, a difficult decision reached after extensive consultations with refugees and key stakeholders.

The refugee households categorised as very vulnerable receive 60 percent of the size of regular food rations. Less vulnerable families receive 30 percent of the minimum food ration, while those categorised as not vulnerable have been weaned off food assistance and connected to long-term livelihood opportunities. All new arrivals receive a 100 percent food ration for the first three months.

“We are targeting new refugees in reception and transit centres because the time right after the fleeing crisis is of extreme difficulty and vulnerability,” Hidemoto Fukazawa, Ambassador of Japan to Uganda, said. “This contribution is in line with Japan’s commitment to provide humanitarian support to Uganda at a time when the region is facing an influx of refugees and multiple crises.”

Last year, 130,000 refugees arrived in Uganda. The country hosts a total of 1.5 million refugees, the highest number in any African country. Many of the newly arriving refugees are fleeing conflict in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, and more recently, Sudan, reaching the border by foot or by bus.

Uganda’s refugee population has tripled in less than a decade. Despite a progressive refugee policy, refugees in Uganda have limited livelihood opportunities to sustain themselves and continue to depend on humanitarian assistance.

Mr. Abdirahman Meygag, WFP Uganda’s Country Director and Representative, commended the Government of Japan for their timely contribution. “This comes at a critical time when WFP needs sustained donor support to continue providing monthly food assistance to refugees fleeing conflict,” he said.

“When refugees receive a hot meal on arrival, it is a relief after long, often difficult journeys with no food or water for days. This marks the beginning of recovery and hope as they then settle to find ways of rebuilding their lives,” he said.

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