The UN World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday announced a further reduction of cash transfers and food rations for about 1.2 million refugees in Uganda due to funding shortfall.
The food aid agency in a statement said with effect from February 2021, refugees in the east African country will have to do with only 60 percent of a full ration.
“COVID-19 must not be an excuse for the world to turn its back on refugees at this terrible time,” said El-Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director.
“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,” he said.
WFP said it immediately requires 95.8 million U.S. dollars to provide full rations to refugees in Uganda over the next six months.
“The most vulnerable women, children and the elderly are increasingly at risk of becoming malnourished, which can in turn impact their immune systems and make them more likely to be infected by disease, amid a pandemic,” said the statement.
More than 91,000 refugees living in 13 refugee settlements across Uganda are experiencing extreme levels of hunger, and 400,000 are considered to be at crisis hunger levels with 135,130 children being acutely malnourished and in urgent need of treatment, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification in October.
WFP in April announced a 30 percent reduction in food rations and cash transfers to vulnerable refugees who have fled into the country from neighboring countries, which coincided with the COVID-19 lockdown.