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DRC REFUGEES: WFP worried about impending food shortage in Kisoro


Serving dinner to over 15,000 refugees at Nyakabande holding center. FILE  PHOTO @CAFOMI_Uganda

Kisoro, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | World Food Programme-WFP is worried about the impending food shortage in Kisoro, western Uganda.

The UN agency is running out of both food and monetary aid to support refugees in the district who fled fighting in Eastern DRC.

More than 17,000 people are at Nyakabande refugees’ reception centre following fighting between Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers and the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels in Rutshuru territory.

The fighting led civilians to continue fleeing to Uganda. 1413 refugees crossed to Kisoro on Monday this week, according to Hajji Shafique Ssekandi, Kisoro Resident District Commissioner.

Since last month, 19,773 refugees have crossed into Kisoro.   But, Emily Doe, World Food Program (WFP) Health Officer in Charge of South Western Uganda says that the influx of refugees happened at a time when humanitarian departments were not prepared due to many tasks across the country and outside Uganda.

Doe explains that the influx is likely to create a food shortage. She says currently at the Nyakabande reception centre, the refugees are fed with 10 metric tons of food every day compared to last month when they would be fed with 5 metric tons.

Doe also says that each week, WFP spends close to One Billion Shillings to provide food and other necessities to the refugees at Nyakabande.

Doe says that WFP has been forced to mobilize food kept in their stores from Arua, Kampala, and Tororo to make sure that the refugees continue surviving.

Douglas Asiimwe, acting Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister admits that funding to help refugees at Nyakabande and other reception centres across the country has reduced. He calls for intervention from other international humanitarian agencies.

Asiimwe, however, says that despite the funding challenges, the government in partnership with Humanitarian agencies is still managing to provide food, shelter, health care, and psychosocial assistance to Congolese refugees at the centre.

So far about 2,000 Congolese refugees have been transferred from Nyakabande reception centre to Nakivale refugees camp after hopes of peace to return to Rutshuru soon faded.

By Friday, FARDC was consolidating its positions in Chengerero, Jomba, Bugusa, and the surrounding area, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Njike Kaiko Guillaume, the spokesperson for the North Kivu operational sector Sokola2. Kaiko says that the rebels are still holding the hills of Chanzu and Runyoni.



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