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Refugees demand for more assistance amid soaring commodity prices

Refugees at Palabek settlement camp. File Photo

Lamwo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Refugees in Palabek settlement camp in Lamwo district are demanding for an increase in the monthly cash transfers amid rising commodity prices.

The World Food Program-WFP, has for years been giving refugees in-kind food assistance in terms of food rations to boost their nutrition.

However, the nutrition assistance method for refugees changed to cash transfers a month ago. According to WFP, it was becoming difficult to get food to buy for the refugees.

Each refugee is given 19,000 shillings, which is believed to be commensurate to the quantity of food ration they would have received. WFP also believes that the money empowers the refugees to make their own nutritional choices and address their other essential needs in local markets and at the same time support such markets.

Speaking during the World Refugee Day celebrations in Palabek settlement camp, Margaret Aloyo, the women representative in the refugee welfare committee, said she has received complaints from refugees that the amount of money is meager and cannot buy food supplies enough for a whole month, given the rising food prices.

Phoebe Akullu, who represented the Palabek refugee camp Commandant, suggested to development partners the need to remobilize and redistribute resources among those already available to fill the gap.

Feclicitas Nebril, the head of the UNHCR sub-office in Lamwo and Adjumani districts, noted that the covid-19 pandemic brought in challenges that affected the mobilization of resources to support the refugees.

Nebril says the problem is being compounded by the war in Ukraine which is negatively affecting the prices of commodities and also making it harder to access such commodities.

On the amount given to refugees to buy basic commodities, Nebril explained that the amount was determined after assessing the market condition. She however says the amount can be reviewed when necessary and when resources are available.

On Monday, Joel Boutroue, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR representative in Uganda revealed that the Uganda Country Refugee Response Emergency Appeal of 47.8 million US dollars (178 billion), which should cover life-saving needs from April to June 2022 is only 8 percent funded.

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