By Halima Athumani
The World Food Programme has said it has been forced to cut food rations to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
Speaking to journalists Wednesday, country director Cheryl Harrison said, “Right now, the WFP is at a precarious point in our refugee response.”
Despite a number of contributions the UN body has received from donors, Harrison stressed: “The level of resources that the WFP is receiving has not kept pace with the influx coming from South Sudan.”
In August at the height of the South Sudan refugee influx into Uganda, the WFP, in consultation with the UNHCR and the Ugandan government, agreed to reduce rations by 50 percent.
The deductions concerned all commodities including cereals, beans and peas, fortified vegetable oil, iodized salt and blended fortified nutrition flour.
“Once again we are facing a situation where if we don’t receive considerable new contributions within the month of November we will be looking at having additional ration cuts in January.”
She expressed fear that if the refugees did not have enough food, “they will engage in risky and destructive income generating activities such as charcoal burning and in some cases even prostitution.”
The WFP is facing a shortfall of $57 million from November until April 2017. It costs about $12 million per month to provide lifesaving assistance to refugees in Uganda. The World Food Programme currently provides food assistance to more than 650,000 refugees in Uganda.