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Funding shortfall forces cuts to UN food program

Michael Buchsbaum
December 22, 2020

Over 1 million refugees in Uganda will face reduced food rations as a lack of international funding forces the UN World Food Programme to cut its relief program.

Refugees from South Sudan in Uganda
Uganda is host to refugees who fled several other African nationsImage: Getty Images/D. Kitwood

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Tuesday that due to a shortfall in international aid, it will have to further reduce monthly relief cash and food rations for 1.26 million refugees in Uganda.

Uganda hosts the largest number of refugees of any country in Africa, including thousands who have fled conflicts in the Congo, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Burundi. However, the WFP, the world's largest humanitarian aid organization and 2020 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has only secured half of the money it needs to support them.

People walking in front of a truck with World Food Programme Banner
The WFP, winner of 2020's Nobel Peace Prize, is the world's largest humanitarian aid organizationImage: Alissa Everett/Reuters

Second cut to food rations in a year

WFP spokesperson Tomson Phiri said the organization immediately needs another $95.8 million (€78.7 million) to avoid slashing refugee caloric intake and other aid. If the WFP is forced to take this step, it would be the second cut in Uganda since April.

Also a COVID-19 hotspot, the reduced rations combined with impacts from the ongoing lockdown are major contributors to hunger in all 13 UN refugee settlements, according to a recent food assessment survey.

"COVID-19 must not be an excuse for the world to turn its back on refugees at this terrible time," said WFP Country Director El-Khidir Daloum. "We appreciate that donors fully funded our refugee operation in Uganda in 2019 but right now we are unable to keep up even basic food assistance and the poorest will suffer the most as we have to cut still further."