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Food pipeline break for refugees in Uganda

WFP is low on funds to provide aid in Uganda
WFP is low on funds to provide aid in Uganda
WFP/Tine Frank

More than 100,000 refugees from South Sudan have poured into neighboring Uganda. However, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reports that food supplies are running out at camps for these war victims.

Starting this month, as a result of low funding, WFP is not able to provide Super Cereal Plus to refugees. Super Cereal Plus is a food that is vital to stopping malnutrition. But WFP has run out of it. A report issued today by WFP states, "If the pipeline break continues for an extended period, it may have a negative impact on the nutrition status of the most vulnerable."

Those most vulnerable would be small children, whom receive Super Cereal Plus to fight off malnutrition. UNICEF, the children's agency, reports "high levels of Global Acute Malnutrition (19.9%)" among South Sudanese refugees. Clearly Super Cereal Plus is desperately needed.

Now without this food, child refugees will be at much greater risk of becoming malnourished. The consequences can be devastating. Malnutrition causes lasting physical and mental damage in children if not promptly treated. It can even kill children.

How soon till the Super Cereal Plus will be available again depends on international donors. WFP relies entirely on voluntary contributions. Its Uganda relief mission is short US $ 11 million in funds.

The war in South Sudan between the government and opposition forces has displaced over a million people. Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia are also taking in refugees. Around 2,000 people arrive daily from South Sudan to find refuge in these nations. WFP is extremely concerned about malnutrition rates for these displaced persons. Some families walk for days before they reach the camps. They survive on little or no food for the journey. WFP needs US $ 103 million for all these refugee missions combined.

The UN food agency is extremely strained right now with major hunger emergencies in South Sudan, Central African Republic and Syria. More funding is needed for all these operations.

The hunger crisis for the refugees will get much worse without donations. WFP reports, "If new contributions are not received soon, the refugee programmes risk complete pipeline breaks from October onwards."

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